Sankranti - 2011 Preparations

Gone are the days when we saw this 'habbada sadagara' at home. These days life has become so simple(??). You get jaggery, coconut cut into small squares which can be store bought and mixed at home. Even better (or worse?) we get ready made ellu bella mix at your nearby grocery stores in India. Just buy them, pack and distribute it.

I grew up watching my mother 'passionately' cutting bella/jaggery and kobbari/coconut in front of 'eeligemane' (a knife tucked to a wooden plank). This is a job which needs utmost patience. Hours would go by while you wait for these bella and kobbari to become crisp in sun in the month of December! Jan first week would go by making sakkare acchu/sugar figurines. Closer to the day we packed the ellu bella mixture with sakkare acchu and neatly packed it in a box. Keeping this box away from ants was another task!

On the day of Sankranti we eagerly waited for the exchanged ellu bella to taste them. We carefully opened each packet so that the sugar figurines are intact and beemed with smile if we got any special design. The whole month every one in school had sakkare achu in their pencil box.

Now, things have got so mechanical..I wonder if we still have the same spirit to celebrate the festival? hmm.. I have to cut coconut, jaggery coz I don't live in India! so the festive spirit is forced down? (Laughs) either ways I love it!

I am a follower of the 'Bhargavasarma' , a blog written with utmost passion for Astrology and related subjects. The blog wonderfully describes the signifance of "Uttarayana Parvakala"/ Makarasankramana. I would like to re-quote few things for the benefit of the readers of this blog :

What is to be done on this day?
Generally during any Parvakala one has to take sacred bath, perform prayer, Japa, penace, and give Charity/Dana (donation). Those who have lost their parents should also give Tharpana to their forefathers. This day one should desist from sensual pleasures, should not apply oil to the body/head, and should take only vegetarian food.

Shat thila karma: It is said that on this day one should use Thil (Sesame) seeds in six ways viz…Thila Snana, Thila Deepa, Thila Homa, Thila tarpana, Thila Dana and Thila Bhakshana. Worshipping Lord SriMann Narayana and Lord Sun is highly meritorious during this time. Parayana of Vishnu Sahasranama sthothram, Aaditya Hridayam, Purusha Sooktham, Sri Rama Raksha Sthothram and Gayathri Japa, are useful prayers suggested at this time.

Thila Dana: Donating Thil seeds on this day with dakshina is considered as very sacred and meritorious

Vasthra Dana: As per Masa dharma being Pushya Masa donating clothes to a Brahmin is sacred and meritorious.

Kushmanda Dana: Donating of Pumpkin on this day is also meritorious.

                                                   Uttarayana (2011) - Schedule

As per the Almanac followed in South India, Uttarayana Punya-Parvakala (Makara Sankramana) transit of Sun into Makara Raasi (Capricorn) is taking place this year on Friday,14th of January 2011 at 23.40 hrs (11.40 pm) and hence, performing of rites relating to the punya-parvakala will be held on Saturday, 15.01.2011 starting from Sunrise up to 11.40 am. For Sunrise time, city specific please check the local calendars."

Don't forget to pray and feast on Sankranti. Between related sankranti posts on Taste of Mysore can be found here :

1. Ellu Bella
2. Ellu Bella Burfi
3. Sakkare Achu
4. Khara Pongal and Sihi Pongal
5. Uddinahittu Gojju for Pongal
6. Godhi Rave Pongal (for diabetics)
7. Rava Pongal (coming up soon)

SriLakshmi Anand, a reader of this blog wants to share the way she recycles her containers to distribute ellu bella. Take a look at the picture and rest is quick to understand. Simple yet so impressive! Thank you SriLakshmi for sharing your creative side with us.

Readers/Bloggers, if you have any preparation posts or celebration posts related to Sankranti, please post your link in the comment section. I would love to know how you celebrate/celebrated Sankranti.



Priya Suresh said...

Lovely post, very useful for many of us..hats of to Srilakshmi for her cute looking containers..

Unknown said...

lovely postt..enjoyed reading..

Unknown said...

Fantastic info. Lakshmi very use full and lovely containers so prity Happy new year to u and ur family ...

notyet100 said...

containers are very cute,,thanks to Srilakshmi for sharing this,..
and thanks for the info,..very nicely written

Rekha said...

What a coincidence, I was just thinking about this...Thankfully, some of these things are readily available, makes things job easier and wallet lighter :)

YOSEE said...

Its true that everything comes ready made these days. We even get the sugar cane neatly chopped and packed ! Easier for the busy woman of today.But there are some old timers who make the sakkare acchu at home, even now.
When I was young, during "Ellu Beeru"-ing , they used to include one little toy in the goodies-tray and I remember the shops in mysore market selling wonderful little plastic or steel knick-knacks specially for this purpose.

I hadn't known about the gourd daana !

Srilakshmi's containers are very creative and festive.

Champa said...

Your post made me remember my mother cutting bella for weeks together. As a little girl, I used to love to spread it in hot sun and steal away some of the bellada pudi from the plate. Gone are those days. Everyone that I know of back at home buy stuff from the store.

Nagashree said...

Dear Lakshmi
Long time silent reader in many of the food blogs including yours, I had to comment today because the topic is so close to heart. Sankranthi sadagara and ellu beering is a ritual I used to look forward to every year.My amma used adike kattari for the bella :-). I live in US and for my daughter try to do the festivals to some degree even if it gets to be a weekend celebration most times. I just cut the kobbari last saturday, planning to finish bella during the week and then get the other ingredients over the weekend.

Very nice post, wish you & your family a very happy Sankranthi in advance

Cham said...

My husb told me about the sugar acchu and fondly miss it... India became much modern and even they buy idli/dosa batter outside.... We are the one who does everything from scratch now.....
That is a lovely post!

Lakshmi said...

Thank you all for your wonderful thoughts.

Bangalore Baker,
LOlz I wanted to write that sentence "stole bella when I spread it in Sun" :P but resisted myself!

Festivals hold a special place especially if you grow up in such environment. Adike kattari idea is too good. I have to take the help of knife and will try my luck on this weekend. Thanks for taking time and sharing your thoughts.

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Lovely post and the containers looks super cute.

Meena said...

hi Lakshmi,
What a lovely post. Brought back all my childhood memories.'Sankranthi' was celebrated with lot of excitement and ellu -bella was prepared at home right from scratch. I remember my mom too using adigemane to cut the coconut and bella.It needed a lot of work and patience and then spread out in the sun, and then make sugar achu. After all done, I used to help her to put them in individual covers, along with a plastic toy (I so..remember them..lovely) and ready to be distributed.Me and my friends would go to several houses and it was so much fun. Good old days...
I try to make a little of yellu bella at home just to keep up the festive spirit,but miss all the excitement ...
Thanks for the write up and reminding us of the traditions...

Raks said...

Nice informative post! SHould be very useful for many!

veena said...

very useful and informative post

Gayu said...

Lovely post and very informative. Thanks for posting. Cute containers!


notyet100 said...

hi there
wish you happy makar sankranti
this is the link of the recipe prepared on sankranti

Hansa said...

Thanks so much for the sweet and khara pongal recipes. Today is Sankranthi and I wanted to make something like this. I typed in khara and sweet pongal and lo and behold came to your site. Nimma yella recipes tumbha chennagide. Thumbha thanks! And Sankranthiya Shubhashayagalu:)

Deepthi Shankar said...

you are soo right, there is no habbada sadagara anymore .. yu even get packed ellu bella, so yu don't even need to pack it :)

Vishku said...

Hi Lakshmi,
It was my dream since I first saw my mom making Sakkare achchu I wanted to make it but my mom cant make it now she always used to say it is a headache why do you bother about making it at home when you can buy them but somehow for me there is charm in things made by me than store bought I had stopped asking her fortunately I saw your blog n made according to your instruction it came out very nicely n melted in mouth DH was very happy thank You........

Lakshmi said...

Thank you so much for the feedback :)