Dhanu Sankranti marks the transit of the Sun to Sagittarius or Dhanu Rashi. This will continue for a month (from today to the day before Makar Sankranti).
The special ‘Pahili Bhoga Niti’ at Puri Srimandir started today. The rituals will continue till January 13, a day before 'Makar Sankranti'.
From this day onwards, Goddess Mahalakshmi leaves for her parent’s home for a month. For this reason, food cooked by Lord Jagannath’s mother (Yashoda) is offered early in the morning. This prasad is known as Pahili Bhog which along with Ballabh Bhog is offered to the Lord during this month.
As per the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) ‘Dwara Phita’ ritual of the Srimandir was held at 2am today and will continue for a month. Daily rituals like Mangala Arati, Rosha Homa, Mailama, Tadapa Lagi and Abakasha were performed.
It has been decided, Pahili Bhoga will be offered to the deities between 5:30am and 6:00am everyday this month.
It is pertinent to mention here that thousands of devotees throng the centuries-old temple to have darshan of the deities and get the Pahili Bhoga on Dhanu Sankranti every year.
Muan Bhoga In Berhampur
Meanwhile, the sweet shops in Berhampur and other towns in Ganjam is bustling with sweet tooths who are making a beeline get their hands on some ‘Muan’.
Dhanu Mua, the crisp ball made of puffed rice and jaggery, popularly known as ‘muan,’ is quintessential to Ganjam’s list of delicacies. It’s auspicious to prepare ‘muan’ between ‘Dhanu Sankranti’ and ‘Makar Sankranti’.
As per the tradition, the ‘Muan’ is first offered to the presiding deities, which is called ‘Muan Anukula’, and then to others in the family and friends.
“Today is auspicious Dhanu Sankranti. It is a tradition here to offer Muan to Maa Budhithakurani first and then to everybody else. We seek blessings from Maa Budhithakurani by offering her Muan as bhoga as well,” said a local in Berhampur.
How Dhanu Muan is made
Muan is prepared with puffed paddy tossed in jaggery or sugar with a little ghee. The sugar or jaggery syrup help bind the ingredients into a hard form. Coconut chunks fried with ghee are sprinkled on it. The ‘Muan’ remains fit for human consumption up to six months after preparation.
Earlier made mostly with jaggery, the sweet has undergone many variations over the years. While jaggery has been replaced with sugar, even chunks of coconut, cherries and cashew nut are used in the ones sold these days in the markets.