Makar Sankranti Information, Makar Sankranti Festival Across India
What is Makar Sankranti?
According to the Hindu calendar, there are a total of 12 Sankrantis that fall in a year. Out of all, Makar Sankranti is the most significant and auspicious Sankranti which is celebrated across the entire country. Makar Sankranti is the day when the Sun transits into Capricorn zodiac sign (Makar Rashi) on its celestial path.
It is marked as the beginning of a very auspicious period and the arrival of spring season. It is the day when Sun starts its Northway journey which is also well-known as the day of ‘Uttarayan.’ Devotees worship Lord Sun on this particular day as it signifies wisdom and divinity. From the eve of Makar Sankranti, as with the transition of Sun, the days start getting warmer and longer in comparison with the nights.
When is Makar Sankranti Celebrated?
The celebration of Makar Sankranti takes place in the Magha month according to the Hindu calendar. As per the Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated every year on 14th of January. In various regions across India, the day is celebrated in different names such as it is famous as ‘Pongal’ in the state of Tamil Nadu, ‘Sakarat’ in the areas of Central India, ‘Khichri’ in the regions of Uttar Pradesh, ‘Lohri‘ in the areas of Northern India and Punjab and ‘Bhogali Bihu’ in Assam.
How is Makar Sankranti Celebrated Across India?
In different regions and states across India, the festivity of Celebration Across India is observed and celebrated in different ways and manners as per their culture and religion. Following are some of the key rituals which are being practiced in the following regions of the country:
In the regions of Uttar Pradesh, people take dips and baths in the holy river of Ganges as a primary ritual. On this particular day, the well-known ‘Magh Mela’ begins at Prayag which signifies grand celebrations.
In almost all the parts of Southern India and primarily in Tamil Nadu, the day of Makar Sankranti is marked as the harvest festival where the harvest God is worshipped and offered prayers by the devotees. On the eve of Sankranti, people harvest the paddy and also make dishes with pulses and rice which is cooked in pure ghee and then offered as a sacred food (Prasadam) to the deity. This festivity is popular as ‘Pongal’ in Southern India which is celebrated by all the South India people with great fervor and enthusiasm.
In the regions of Punjab, the individuals lit the sacred bonfires on this day and then observe the rituals and perform puja around the fire by throwing, jaggery, popcorn, and a few other things into it. Bhangra dance is performed with great passion and grand feasts are also organized as a part of the festivities.
On this day, Ganga Sagar Mela begins in Bengal. The area where the festivity takes place is located at the confluence of the river Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. People wake up early morning and take holy dips in this sacred water, and then perform the rituals of morning puja of Lord Sun.
Kite flying is the most popular and significant feature of the festivity of Makar Sankranti which is being observed in Gujarat days prior to the primary day of the occasion. People with immense joy fly kites and also arrange kite flying competition at several places. Usually, the elder members also offer gifts to the younger ones as a part of the ritual at the time of Makar Sankranti.
In the tribal areas of Orissa, the eve of Makar Sankranti is regarded as the New Year where people cook local food and share it with friends, families, and relatives.
In the regions of Maharashtra, several kinds of savories made up of sesame seeds and gaggery are prepared and exchanged with friends, family, and relatives. Individuals wish each other and utensils are being purchased and exchanged with relatives as gifts as a part of the ritual of Haldi Kumkum. This ritual is an age-old cultural tradition which is being followed in Maharashtra on the eve of Makar Sankranti.
So, on such an auspicious and blissful occasion of Makar Sankranti, fly kites, take holy dips and enjoy the festivity with all your heart… Happy Makar Sankranti!!