The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated every year to mark the beginning of the harvest season and the end of the winter months. 

The auspicious day is being observed on January 14 this year as per the Hindu calendar. As the sun transits northward into Makara Rashi or Capricorn, people worship Lord Surya and the earth’s bounty, and pray for a good harvest.

To mark the occasion, people often take a holy dip in Ganga, Godavari, Krishna, Yamuna River, or chant mantras, perform charity, fly kites, worship livestock, and prepare sweets. 

One of the delicacies cooked on this day, called Uttarayan in Gujarat, is the humble khichdi. Let’s take a look at the significance of this dish and why it is consumed. 

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Khichi, made up of a simple combination of rice and lentils with very few spices, is believed to be the favourite food of the Hindu lord Gorakshnath, who is worshipped for good harvest in the new season. The dish is made and offered to the deity to please him, and then it is served to all devotees present at the temple in Uttar Pradesh as ‘prasad’. 

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Culturally speaking, khichdi serves as a symbol of unity as it is cooked in a single pot. Freshly harvested rice and lentils are used in the cook, making it the perfect dish for the occasion. It represents the cycle of life and rebirth. 

Apart from these reasons, the health benefits of khichdi are undeniable. The weather change that the sun’s movement northwards leads to, can cause digestion issues. A light, simple, and nutritious meal like khichdi is the perfect option for such times. 

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People across the country have given their own spin to the dish, often substituting rice with bajra, millet and jowar, and adding spices and vegetables. Khichdi can, therefore, be of various kinds, such as sabudana khichdi, oats khichdi, aloo khichdi, or bajra khichdi. 

So this Makar Sankranti, share a delicious, warm meal of khichdi with your loved ones.