Sankranti is a harvest festival celebrated all over India. It heralds the onset of spring. Mythology says that on this day Lord Vishnu vanquished the Asuras by finishing them off and burying their heads under the Mandara Parvata. Thus, this occasion also symbolizes the end of negative and beginning of an era of righteous living. Each region has its own rituals, dishes, and celebrations to mark this auspicious day.
In Orissa, one of the common dishes prepared is Makara Chaula (ମକର ଚାଉଳ). In his book The Cult of Jagannath, Kanhu Charan Mishra wrote, “During the Makar Sankranti day, in the month of Magha…the deities are offered Makara Caula (i.e. fresh uncooked rice, well moistened, mixed with milk, ginger, black pepper, candy, coconut, cheese, camphor, raisin, ripe banana, etc.)”