Mumbai Diary

A traditional tea party for Sankranti

Last Sunday was Makar Sankrant which every Indian will tell you marks the beginning of the sun’s journey to the Northern hemisphere. This is celebrated with  kites and the blue skies are suddenly populated with hundreds and thousands of brightly hued kites.

Since last year, however, I find that there are no kites flying outside my house apart from the avian variety.  I don’t know whether to attribute this to the Marathon ( which was held last Sunday), a total conversion of our population into couch potatoes or a general awareness that kite flying is dangerous.  Young children who pursue a kite fight unmindful of the sharp glass coated string tied to the kites, run on to the streets regardless of traffic. While the birds who fly into a string , literally gets beheaded in the kite fights.

Despite less kites in the sky, this festival has not totally become extinct.  At least the food part is still followed. There is an exchange of sesame sweets ( til ladoos and halwa)  which signify a cessation of hostilities with the entreaty that ” please let bygones be bygones and let our interaction be as sweet as this exchange”.

One of the traditions of my community is to  mark this festival with a tea party exclusively for women where the goody bag consists of seasonal berries, peanuts, a piece of sugar cane and some fresh green gram. This is given with turmeric and vermillion powder and a garland of flowers to put in one’s hair.
A cousin revived this tradition this year with a view to introducing her young grand daughter to this custom. As the ladies in traditional saris munched down the tasty eats and sipped tea and coffee, I wondered why tea time has been relegated to a quick cup gulped down in minutes?

There is something to be said for this elegant form of entertaining where people had all the time in the world to share some gossip over a cup of tea. Isn’t it? 

Image for Bellybytes

2 thoughts on “A traditional tea party for Sankranti

  1. It took a lack of til laadoos and festivity in this part of the world, for me to appreciate the fun and joy makar sankrati actually brings! The haldi kunku sounds lovely! Dhanwanti

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