Makar Sankranti 2023 – Tradition Of Ghughutiya From Uttarakhand
Image Credit: Ghughutiya/ Instagram

With Makar Sankranti the festival that whole of India celebrates in their own way, it’s that time of astronomical changes is marked by the transmigration of the sun from the zodiac sign of Cancer (Makar) to Sagittarius (Dhanu). And as whole of India gears up for the festival Uttarakhand primarily celebrates in a much unique way called Ghughutiya.

Ghughutiya festival happens to be the is a traditional Makar Sankranti celebration of Uttarakhand. On this day people of the region Khichadi (a mixture of pulses and rice) as a part of charity and take the holy dip in the later heading to the Uttarayani fairs to celebrate the festival of Ghughutia or Kale Kauva (black crow). During the festival of Kale Kauva people make sweetmeats out of gur and atta and deep those nuggets in ghee. Shaped like a either , knives they are strung together like a garland with an orange in the centre. This unique festival has the focus on the crows. Ghughute or Ghughutiya, the curly snacks are the main focus of the festival. This snack in made in huge numbers and every house sees them as they place in various places from rooftops and balconies for the crows to feed on

While the celebration in Johar Region of Uttarakhand Ghughutia is celebrated on the night before the main day of the festival and the ancestors are fed jaang a local alcohol and food. While the celebration in Dharchula Region they celebrate the festival by sticking wheatgrass coated with cow dung. Delicious dishes like dat bhaat, puri, etc. were prepared. The festival surely sees a lot of focus on food along with some great music and dance. 

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While during Ghugutia celebration in Garhwal the food that is prepared is known as Gholdiya. The dough shape resembles that of Ghurad (Himalayan deer). As per custom the kids are supposed to kill the Ghurads by tearing the food into small pieces and eat them. Also known as Chunya Tyar in some regions, on this day, a dish called Chunya is prepared by blending rice, lentils, millets, and other seven different types of crops. Even Urad khichdi is cooked and eaten after been offered to Brahmins. That's why this festival is also known as Khichdi Tyar. 

In the Kumaon region the dish is called Ghughut and is prepared with flour that is kneaded with jaggery. The dough is given different shapes and then deep fried. Once fried they are then tied into a garland and number of garlands equals the number of children in the household. They also sing to attract crows and other birds. as they feed them with fried Ghughut (portions of these edible necklaces) and this also a way to welcome the migratory birds back after their winter sojourn in the plains. The remaining fried Ghughut is eaten by the children.