If you've spent a decent amount of time in South India, you'll know that the festival is the food, and vice versa. (And idli-dosa.)
But terrible rhymes aside, a whole bunch of harvest festivals were just celebrated all over the country last weekend, all celebrating the coming of a new harvest season, and with the hope that it will bring prosperity and good fortune with it, just like the new crop.
So many festivals can be overwhelming, so as a favour (and for some home-made festival treats), we'll break them down for you—presenting the Spectacular Sankranti Breakdown.
Depending on where you're from, anything from Lohri, Sankranti, Pongal, Makar Sankranti to Vishu, goes. All legit names celebrating the same thing—a new harvest, and marking the transition of the season.
It's all about the harvest, so the focus remains on local, traditional produce. In Karnataka, Ragi is the crop of the hour (erm...of 24 hours). But that's not to say that a kingly meal of many items isn't made. It is, and you may eat like the deserving person of royalty that you are.
Equally part of tradition is enjoying some sugarcane on the festival day—sitting down with stalks of sugarcane, tearing the outer layer off with your teeth, showing off about your superior dental strength to your sibling (or being showed off to, depending on which kid you were.)
And after all the hard work, enjoying a proper, juicy bite of sugarcane, with the sweetness exploding in your mouth with every chewy bite. And then spending the rest of the day getting the bits of sugarcane stuck in your teeth out. Bliss.
As all the grandmas will constantly remind you everyday for a week leading up to the festival—new clothes! The more starched and shiny they are, the better. A bindi on your forehead, a flower in your hair, and you're set. *knuckle cracking against forehead to remove bad omens.*
Sankranti is basically a solar event, that marks a seasonal shift from Winter to Spring. The term Sankranti literally translates to 'change of direction', signifying the various seasonal and astronomical changes taking place.
It's also a celebration of the first harvest of the year, and the next few months that follow are considered super lucky for life and related things. That's why you might find enthusatsic aunties urging you to undertake all life-altering activities during this time.
A fun activity that becomes hugely popular around this time is kite flying. Colourful, very coolly shaped kites take flight with kids and adults chasing after them. Sometimes it's hard to tell them apart. But hey, fun and games.
Since kite flying is all the rage, around this time, if in a fit of irritation you asked someone to 'go fly a kite', you might just be surprised by an enthusiastically affirmative response.
But don't take our word for it. (Really. Don't.)
Also, possible trending-worthy hashtags you could incorporate into festive social media actives to appear traditional AND cool-
#ThisIsHowWeSendItOnSankranti #HubbaHubbaHabbadha #SendingThemSankrantiFeels. Amongst others.
Belated Sankranti Habbadha Subhashayagalu, macheshes.