'Til, Gud Ghya Ni God God Bola'- This is what my Marathi friend told me while giving me a til and gur ladoo during fest practice. Amazed by the sentence she told me before giving the ladoos, I took them without even thinking once. Post-practice, I asked her what she meant by the Marathi phrase and why did she say so. She answered that Marathis greet each other with the same phrase on Makar Sankranti and by the phrase they mean “eat til and gur and talk sweetly”. The moment I heard it, I blushed thinking how cute and appropriate it was.

After coming back that day, I began tracing the similarities in cultures on Makar Sankranti. From relishing Makara Chaula at my home as a child to savouring a token of love from an almost stranger in another city, Makar Sankranti has always brought comfort to me. However, if I begin to chalk out things ubiquitous to the festival, then til and gur will surely be two of them. Most of the host of dishes exclusive to the festive have til and gur in them. Being the season specialties, both the ingredients are found in most of the winter delicacies of India. However, til and gur have strong scientific and cultural links with the festival.


According to Ayurveda, til and gur are the perfect ingredients to warm your body during winters. The nutritional properties make them quintessential additions to most Indian winter specialties starting from chikki, gajak and ladoos. The oil released from til is instrumental in generating body heat and keeps the internal body temperature steady during winters. And we are definitely not unaware of the goodness of jaggery as the food played an important role in saving us from infections during the pandemic. The ingredient zings with calcium, iron and vitamin C and is beneficial in maintaining respiratory health during winters. 

If we go by the religious significance, then legend has it that the seeds were blessed by Lord Yama to bestow immortality. Another legend has it that the seeds were sowed on earth by the sweat of Lord Vishnu and hence, are considered sacred. The sweets made out of sesame seeds are kept in front of the idols or pictures of the gods with the belief that this practice will retain the Shakti and Chaitanya in the sweets. These seeds when consumed in any form are believed to eliminate sins from a person's life. 

From til ladoos in Maharashtra, Joynagar Moa in West Bengal or Revdis in Punjab, til and gur are truly signature to Makar Sankranti. Do you think we missed mentioning the til and gur specialty of your region? Do let us know in the comments section.