Makar Sakranti is a Harvest Festival which is celebrated in almost all parts of our country with much fanfare.While Pongal and Boghi are the harvest festivals of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Magh Bihu is the harvest festivals of Assam, Uttarayan, in north India.
Millions of people in Odisha took the ritualistic dips in ponds and rivers and visit temples across the state as they celebrate the harvest festival of Makar Sankranti. The withdrawing of winter entails a change in food habits and intake of nourishing and rich food. Therefore this festival holds traditional cultural significance. It is astronomically important for devotees who worship the sun god at the great Konark temple with fervor and enthusiasm as the sun starts its annual swing northwards. It is the day when the sun starts to travel northwards marking the decline of winter.From this day onwards days become lengthier and warmer and so the Sun-God is worshiped on this day as a great benefactor.
In the districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh where the tribal population is more than forty per cent, the festival is celebrated with great joy and merriment. They have been celebrating this festival with great enthusiasm. Moreover, the time of the festival is best suited for them as all agricultural operations are over by that time and each family possess something after the harvest. Preparation for the festival starts much earlier. All the houses are cleaned and neatly plastered. They are painted with three colours viz. White, red and black. New clothes are worn by young and the old alike. Sweet cakes and a meal with meat-curry is a must in every household. Liquor is freely consumed by men and women They sing and dance and enjoy life for about a week. Young girls of certain communities mostly Kudumi, Bastiti, Rajual etc. worship ‘Tushu’, a female deity and immerse it in the river or tank singing songs of a special variety.
Tusu Parab is a dance performed during the Makar Sankranti in many tribal districts of Odisha. This dance is dedicated to Goddess Tusu and is performed by young girls. During the Hindu month of Paush , girls gather every evening to sing songs. These songs are generally referred to as ‘Tusu’. On the day of the Makara Sankranti festival in this month, girls go in groups to a nearby tank or river. They carry along with them a small clay idol of Goddess Tusu or cow-dung balls representing the deity. The girls take a ceremonial bath in the water and then make offerings of rice to the deity. They sing songs near the riverbank. The songs are accompanied by the Tusu Parab dance, the movements of which are simple. This dance is performed in groups. No musical instruments are used while performing this dance. The girls compete with each other during the performance. Kite-flying competitions were organised in places like Cuttack and other towns with fun and enthusiasm.
In Odisha , people prepare MAKARA CHAULA which is prepared with uncooked newly harvested rice, banana, coconut, jaggery, Chhena, milk, different fruits , ginger, black pepper and honey as naivedya to gods and goddesses.“Makar Bhoga” is offered to the presiding deity, the Sun-God & lit solemn pyre for satisfying the evil elements plaguing household.In Jagannath temple at puri this festival is observed as Uttarayana Yatra and Uttarayan Vandapana of lord Jagannath .
- Soak the rice overnight. Wash and drain. Spread on a kitchen towel and allow to dry at room temperature.Grind the rice coarsely and transfer to a bowl.
- Cut the fruits into small pieces along with the sugarcane.
- Add the chopped fruits, jaggery, chenna, milk, pepper powder,grated coconut, sugarcane and ginger and mix well.
- Add to the mixing bowl and mix well. Add some pomegranate on top and offer to the deity and your guests after that.