Makar Sankranti or Makara Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasions for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of India in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour, and gaiety. It is a harvest festival. Makar Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day every year on, January 14, with some exception, when the festival is celebrated on January 13 or January 15.
Sankranti offering "Ellu Bella" in Karnataka
This is the Suggi or harvest festival for farmers of Kaveri basin of Karnataka. On this auspicious day, young females (kids & teenagers) wear new clothes to visit near and dear ones with a Sankranti offering in a plate, and exchange the same with other families. This ritual is called "Ellu Birodhu." Here the plate would normally contain "Ellu" (white sesame seeds) mixed with fried groundnuts, neatly cut dry coconut & fine cut bella (Jaggery). The mixture is called "Ellu-Bella" (ಎಳ್ಳು ಬೆಲ್ಲ). The plate will also contain sugar candy molds of various shapes (Sakkare Acchu, ಸಕ್ಕರೆ ಅಚ್ಚು) with a piece of sugarcane. There is a saying in Kannada "ellu bella thindu olle maathadi" which translates to 'eat the mixture of sesame seeds and jaggery and speak only good.' This festival signifies the harvest of the season, since sugarcane is predominant in these parts.There is also a tradition of some households giving away red berries "Yalchi Kai" along with the above. In North Karnataka, kite flying with community members is also a tradition. Drawing rangole in groups is another popular event among women during Sankranti.An important ritual is display of cows and cattle in colourful costumes in an open field. Cows are decorated for the occasion and taken on a procession. They are also made to cross a pyre. This ritual is common in rural Karnataka and is called "Kichchu Haayisuvudu
Ingredients for Ellu-Bella:
1.Lightly dry roast the sesame seeds on low flame or in a oven and keep it aside.
2.Cut the jaggery into small cubes and keep it aside.
3.Gently grate and remove the brown skin of copra and cut it into small cubes and keep it aside.
4.Lightly dry roast the channa and keep it aside.
5.Dry roast the peanuts on a medium flame or in a oven until skin becomes loose and come off easily,make
sure you don't over roast it.Rub them between the palms and remove the skin completely and keep it aside.
6.Now take a bowl and add sesame seeds,jaggery,copra,puff channa and peanuts,mix everything and serve.