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.