Makar Sankranti – A festival of New Hope, Love, and Sharing!

“A young boy running down the street,

Catching on the buzz as we hear a greet.

With a bright yellow kite in his hands,

The festival after the winter’s end.

Celebrated with Kheer, Til Gud, or Phirni,

The festival of new beginning, Makar Sankranti. 

A spiritual event to pray to the sun, as they say,

Mere beliefs, love, and wishes as to the soul of the day.”

14th January, the festival of Makar Sankranti. Falls every year almost on the same day as it follows the solar calendar. It is celebrated in several states of India. Has numerous different names- Pongal, Magh Bihu, Uttrayan, Maghi. 

It is meant to celebrate the end of the winters and the beginning of the new harvest season. 

Mythologically believed during Mahabharata, Bhishma waited for uttarayan to begin to leave his body and depart to heaven. Makar Sankranti like any other festival in India is celebrated with excitement, rituals, and traditional food!

Let some recipes flow! 

In Maharashtra, Laddoos made up of sesame and jaggery are shared among friends and family.  Sesame seeds have brilliant oil composition containing Omega 3, fiber, minerals, and vitamins like vitamin E.

Jaggery is the source of iron, escalates the recipe with nutrients beneficial for the winter season! 

Puran Poli filled with protein and energy is a traditional dish prepared on such auspicious occasion. It contains, chana dal, jaggery, and ghee on the top! 

Other recipes are Coconut Laddu, Lemon Rice, and Sabudana Wadas.

In the northern states, like Punjab, Haryana, Uttarpradesh several savories as well as sweet dishes are prepared. Along with kheer, Atta laddu, Sooji ka Halwa, savory such as Aalu Gobhi, Khichdi, Dal Kachori are made to relish! 

These dishes are energy, fiber, and carbohydrate-dense, proteins come from pulses used. 

These dishes are finger-licking good and appetizing. 

The southern states celebrate Makar Sankranti as the second day of their 4 day-long festivals. Various traditional south Indian dishes are prepared such as Murukku, Tamarind rice, Ven Pongal, etc. 

These are again energy and carb-dense recipes. Adding several Omega-rich nuts makes these recipes beneficial are hair and skin health. 

‘Uttarayan’ celebrated in Gujarat and other western states of India, is one of the most awaited festivals of Gujaratis. It is celebrated by flying colorful kites in the sky! This international kite festival of Gujarat is one of the major attractions for tourists. The international kite festival of Gujarat is a platform for kite makers and kite innovators to showcase their talents. You wouldn’t want to miss Undhiyu, fafda, jalebi for the world! 

Talking about our sweetest state, Bengal. Makar Sankranti is here known as ‘Poush Sankranti’. Nolen Gurer Payesh, a kheer made up of rice, milk, and date palm jaggery that comes especially during winters. This is a filling and nutritious Dessert! 

The health trick! 

Though these dishes are healthy in their manner, it is also calorie-dense and sugar-loaded. If any of our family members suffer from lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, etc. They would have been denied from eating some food items. 

We can use some tricks to make it healthier and acceptable to all. 

    • Use whole wheat flour/millet flour instead of refined flour.

    • Scoop out their portion of food and then add sugars for the rest. 

    • Try baking, roasting, grilling methods instead of deep-frying wherever possible

    • Use dates powder, jaggery instead of white sugar.

    • Make the recipe nutritious by adding nuts, seeds, and functional foods.

    • Desserts are meant to be desserts and not meals! Control the portion size.

These tricks will control the sugar levels and avoid hyperglycemia [high blood sugars]. 

Making the recipes nutritious with the help of functional foods, therapeutic ingredients will make these festive dishes a true delight. 

At the beginning of spring, this festival brings in new hope to the devotees of Lord Surya. The excitement to celebrate this day with rituals lightens up the houses with happiness. This multi-cultural, diverse festival- Makar Sankranti signifies Unity and harmony. It symbolizes the beauty of love and sharing. 

These festivals of India are for us,

To come together,

To celebrate together,

And cherish traditionality together..

Here’s wishing you good health, peace, and happiness ahead of this Makar Sankranti from Nutrition with Vibha.

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