The very word 'festival' often reminds people of delicious food, as celebration of any festive occasion looks incomplete unless and until rich food is distributed among near and dear ones. The festival of Makar Sankranti, a harvest festival, celebrated all around India is no exception.
There was a time when a lot of special dishes were prepared on this day and since Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival so most of the delicacies were made of the new rice coming out of the paddy.
In the eastern parts of the country, a popular delicacy is "Pitha" or, home made cake. It's a traditional food item, particularly prepared during the festival of Makar Sankrant.
Though different types of Pithas are made during the whole year but winter is considered to be the best season for making and having Pitha. It is because during this season molasses of date-palm is available. Other ingredients necessary for making pitha are powder of Atap (unboiled) rice, coconut, banana, oil etc. The procedure is slightly elaborate and time-consuming but could be easily prepared.
Some of popular varieties of Pitha are-Chitoi, Vapa-pitha, Patishapta-pitha, Puli-pitha, and Malpoa.
On different ceremonies, village girls and women used to make different shapes and designs of Pitha, which is called 'Nakshi Pitha' and it was a common tradition of village areas. But where tradition meets urbanity the story is quite different.
In modern urban society, it looks most of the people are not just losing faith in old customs and traditions but also losing small moments of cherishable and mouth watering food items.
India is one of the few countries in the world that can boast of people from different backgrounds and different religions living together and enjoying and celebrating festivals but also enjoy the traditional delicacies that have been passed on from generations to generations.
Each and every festival brings with it the joy of the festival and ceremonious food that is awaited for all year long. These special recipes not only provide a opportunity to discover and taste the delicacies of others but also help us to forget about problem and enjoy the festival to the fullest. In fact these traditional delicacies are added attractions to the festivals.
"Now there is very less number of people in families and so instead of making traditional foods buy it from shops. There is no more the enjoyment that we had during our time," said Bani Bhattacharjee, an elderly tradition food maker.
"Now we no more celebrate our festivals with traditional food items as we do not have time since we are engaged with children's school, tuition, singing etc. Still now we prepare some traditional food items during festivals but it will be totally lost in the coming days. During Makar Sankranti celebration now people bye food items from shops as it is easily available. The new generation is more attracted towards fast food so I think the traditional foods will get lost in the coming days," said Tapashi Bhattacharjee, traditional food maker.
The city people also like traditional food like Pithas and it is proved from the rush in different traditional food item shops opened in the cities during different fairs especially.
"This is very tasty to eat and it is not prepared in our house and we get it only during some fairs and so I have eaten many of them," said Romario Debbarma, a traditional food lover.