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Ghughuti or Kale Kauva – Makar Sankranti in Uttarakhand

The Makar Sankranti festival that is observed on January 15, 2024 in India is famous for a unique ritual in Uttarakhand. Makar Sankranti is known as Ghughutia, or Kale Kauva, here and it welcomes birds back from the winter migration. In fact Ghughuti itself is the name of a bird exclusive to Uttarakhand. Uttarayani, which marks the beginning of the northward journey of sun or Surya, is noted for the return of migratory birds to the hills of Uttarakhand.

Makar Sankranti is also known as Kale Kauva means ‘black crow.’ People make Deep-fried sweets from sweetened flour (flour and gur) and shape them like drums, pomegranates, knives, swords and are strung into a necklace.

On the morning of Ghughutia, or Kale Kauva, children wear the deep fried sweets as necklaces and sing a folk song associated with Kale Kauva to attract black crows and other birds and offer them pieces of the deep fried sweets.

This is to welcome the birds back from their migration.