Happy Sankranti

January 13, 2007

Pic: Renault/ Rana
Design: RK

“Ellu bella thindu, Olle Maathadu” (Eat sesame seeds and speak only good) is what people tell you as they greet you with a helping of the ellu-bella mixture on the day of Sankranti, the harvest festival (or in ordinary parlance, ellu beero habba – the festival of gifting sesame seeds)!

Makara Sankranti marks the commencement of the sun’s journey to the Northern Hemisphere (Makara raashi), signifying the onset of Uttarayana Punyakala, and is a day of celebration all over the country. Tarpana Vidhi is also performed on this day.
Traditionally, this period is considered an auspicious time as the veteran Bhishma of Mahabharata chose to die during this period. Bhishma fell to the arrows of Arjuna. With his boon to choose the time of his death, he waited on a bed of arrows to depart from this world only during this period. It is believed that those who die in this period have no rebirth.

Women and girl children begin preparations much ahead of the festival. These involve making Sakkare Acchu (sugar moulds) and preparing the Ellu-bella mix. For the sugar moulds, the women use rectangular blocks of wood. These come in various shapes and designs – images of gods and goddessess, a plantain bunch, the Tulasi “Katte” (small platform/ pot) even an old fashioned gramophone! Elderly ladies prepare the syrup to the right consistency, purifying it with dash of milk, add colour – the moulds are left soaking in water; the syrup is poured into holes, with both halves of moulds pressed together, making sure the syrup has reached every corner and curve inside and after a sometime, one of it is very gently removed the still soft image icon of sugar, is left to harden.

To prepare Ellu-Bella, roasted groundnuts, jaggery, tiny coconut pieces are kept in the sun to dry in trays. This procedure is carried out for a few days before finally mixing them with sesame seeds. When I was a kid, my mother or my grandma always used to complain while bringing the trays inside everyday that the contents have reduced by half!
Sankranthi is a time to celebrate “togethemess” and as in most folk festivals the season of harvest finds expression in celebrations. It is a day of goodwill and friendship.


12 Responses to “Happy Sankranti”

  1. praneshachar Says:

    wish you and your family a very happy sankranthi
    yellina habba tarali yellarigu sukhs santhosha
    yella blog friends and their families wish you all
    a very happy makara sankranthi

  2. DD Says:

    Happy Sankranthi to you too. 🙂

  3. TSSM Says:

    Sankrantiya Shubashayagalu !

    Sankranti is a beautiful blend of events !

    1.Harvest season
    2.Ellu bella, sakkare achchu preparation.(why ellu?- ellu is supposed to be purificatory.) I am not aware if the ellu bella, achchu tradition is there in any other part of India .
    3.Decorating the bullocks and ‘etthina gadi ota/pandhya’

    In tamilnadu it is the biggest festival. In fact the Govt.calendar here shows holidays from 15th to 17th and pre/suffixed by saturadays you have 7 days at a go. If one takes leave on 18th and 19th, then one has a whopping 9 days holidays/leave. You can simply freak out. Near Pollachi (Coimbatore district) dozens of bullock carts are seen in the road race.

    It is also the season of kites. I remember, some years back there was a kite flying competition (?) at Jakkur Aerodrome.

    Have a nice time.

  4. anil Says:

    I like the blog and its contents. Keep it up.
    I convey my Happy Sankranti to you.

  5. travel plaza Says:

    RK, Happy Sankranthi to you and your family. We are also celebrating Sankranthi here with a couple inches of snow:)Hope you have a great year ahead.
    I know you visit RK’s blog regularly. So, I’m leaving a message for you here. I am not able to comment on your blog for some reason. I have been trying to comment on the last few posts. Anyways, just wanted to wish you and your family a Happy Sankranthi.

  6. praneshachar Says:

    when I posted my comment it was only sankranthi greetings came on my monitor now I am amazed to see the whole sankrathi details so minutely including making of sakkare acchu. as usual one more master peice from you.
    I am delighted to see so much of knowledge pouring our from all of you. I am extreemely happy about it it is not simple harate here it is sharing of knowledge right from ancient epics to latest in technology
    hrudaya thumbi bandide yenage
    illini post/comment odi
    devare i santhathi hege beleyali
    bharatha ondu dodda shakthi yagali
    ninage namo namo sashra namanagalu
    yellarigu ninna asjhirvada sada irali
    i blog gumpina besuge sada irali

    happy sankranthi

  7. prashanth m Says:

    RK, nimagu & nimma kutumbadavarellarigu sankraanti shubhaashayagalu

  8. Vijay Says:

    TP: For some reason all of your comments were caught as spam (dont know why).. I have corrected it…

    Happy Shankranthi to you as well…

  9. deepthi Says:

    hello can anyone please tell me how to prepare sakkare acchu. i know the ingredieants but not the method.please help me

  10. rk Says:

    found this exhaustive post (with tempting pics) on how to make sakkare acchu:

    Sakkaré Achchu: Sugar Figurines That Hold Memories

    best of luck with the preparation

    happy sankranthi!

  11. jagadish Says:

    Dear Frnds,

    Wish u happy sankranthi.

  12. Lakshmi Says:

    ellu bella habbada shubhashayagalu RK.

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