Feeding Kids And Crows, This Uttrakhand Snack Has A Special Place In Makar Sankranti
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Would it be an exaggeration to say that some of our fondest Sankranti memories have revolved around food? Makar Sankranti is one of the few festivals that is celebrated across India with equal fervour. It is not region-specific, yes, of course, the celebrations may have a local flavour to it, and a few peculiar rituals, but the harvest festival is the first pan-Indian festival of the Gregorian calendar. Celebrated mostly on 14th of January, Makar Sankranti officially marks the end of winter and the onset of spring and the traditional delicacies are reflective of the same. Ever wondered why ladoos, pithe and pulis of Sankranti would often feature jaggery as one of the core ingredients. This is because jaggery is India’s winter staple across the subcontinent. Whether obtained from date palm or sugarcane, jaggery is known to be an incredible source of iron and minerals, more importantly, they are known to keep you very warm and energetic to fight the cold wave.  

Makar Sankranti In Uttrakhand

Situated in the lap of Himalayas, Uttarakhand registers sub-zero temperatures every year. Yet, on Makar Sankranti, everyone comes together to celebrate the festival with full fervour, the clear blue skies are inundated with colourful kites, the scent of khichdi and gur wafts around the room. A curly, twisted snack is passed across too. It is brown in colour and has a hard exterior, as you bite into the snack you can taste the sweet, aromatic tones of fennel seeds, milk and ghee. This snack is known as Ghughute, and it is quite a festive favourite in Uttarayan.

What Is Ghughute

Made with whole wheat flour, fennel seeds, jaggery, ghee and milk, Ghughute or Ghughutiya look a lot like curly Gathiyas and are prepared in huge batches around Uttrayan or Makar Sankranti. The flour is kneaded with all other ingredients and then shaped into these Ghughutiya using hands. The twisted dough is then deep-fried until crisp.  

The Festive Significance

Whether you are a child or a fully functional adult, you wait a whole year to savour some home-made ghughutiya. Ghughutiya and Khajoor are distributed among kids and relatives. Kids munch on the Ghughutiyas and take blessings of their elders along with some gifts. Some of the young ones can even be seen wearing garlands of Ghughute, singing folk tunes and listening to fascinating folklores.  

Some of the Ghughute is even laid out on rooftops and terrace for crows to feed on. They lie there whole day, and the birds hop from one terrace to another chomping on the snack.  It is considered auspicious for birds to feed on Ghughute from rooftops, it is supposed to bring in good luck. Since Ghughute are made in such huge numbers, it is common to find it in various places of the house. From rooftops and balconies, to plate that comprises treats and sweets for neighbours and relatives coming over.  

Have you ever tried Ghughute? Let us know how you liked it.