For most of us, who have grown up in India, there is a particular fruit, vegetable or food item that we associate with a given festival. It would not be wrong to say that it is that particular food item which gives the festival its true flavour.
Now while talking about which festival is associated with which particular food item, the first thing that one must take into account is the geographic region in which that particular festival is celebrated.
The next thing that is to be taken into the loop is the season or time of the year in which the festival is celebrated. It is obvious that all sorts of food items will not be available round the year.
Thus, for a festival that is to be celebrated in the summer, one would associate fruits, vegetables and pulses that are easily available at that time. The same holds good for winters as well.
This is precisely why sesame seeds are such an important aspect of the festival of Makar Sankranti. Read on to know more about the same.
Massaging With Sesame Oil
The festival of Makar Sankranti is deemed to be incomplete without the customary bath at the river. Following this sacred bath, one is expected to massage their body with sesame oil. This is not just a relaxing experience but it also rejuvenates and purifies the body.
The festival is incomplete without the customary offering of sesame and jaggery that is to be made in a traditional copper vessel. This act has to be performed by Brahmins. Another important aspect is the ‘suhangan' offering, which married Hindu women make on this day. Sesame seeds form an integral part of this as well.
Use Of Sesame In Sacred Pyre
Tradition has it that the use of sesame seeds by putting the same in the sacred pyre symbolizes a prosperous future. This also keeps the fire burning in all its vigour. Hence, on this auspicious festival, it is ensured that this ritual is carried out.
Use Of Sesame In Face Pack
As this festival is celebrated in the peak of winter season, it is obvious that during this season the skin gets very dry. Hence, use of the homemade sesame face packs is encouraged as a part of the festivity surrounding Makar Sankranti.
Sesame In Food
In the process of getting sesame to the platter, it is made into the form of gajak or rewri. Apart from its healthy and nutritional nature, this is something that will definitely appeal to your taste buds. That is why food items prepared from sesame are loved by people belonging to diverse age groups.
As stated above, sesame is considered to be very auspicious as per Hindu traditions. Thus, it is believed that by donating sesame seeds, you are wishing the other person good luck. Hence, it is encouraged that on this special festival, one donates sesame seeds to the Brahmins or the poor.
Worship Of The Red Cow With Sesame
This is an essential part of the festivity that surrounds this festival. As per Hindu beliefs, it is a well-established fact that the harvest has been made possible only because of the support and help from the cow. That is why it is treated with a reverence that is at par that of the gods. The worship of red cow is deemed incomplete without the ritualistic offering of sesame seeds and the jaggery to the cow.