Makar Sankranti generally marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh marks the transition of the sun into the zodiacal sign of Makara (Capricorn) on its celestial path, which is the first change in the zodiac after the winter. makar Sankranti is one of the few Hindu festivals which is celebrated on a fixed date i.e. 14th January every year. It is regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase or the holy phase of transition marking the end of an inauspicious phase which begins around mid-December.
The auspicious day of Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of warmer and longer days as compared to nights.On the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti, day and night are believed to be equally long. It is believed that if you die during Makar Sankranti, you are not reborn but go directly to heaven. Makar Sankranti generally marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh.
Significance of Makar Sankranti
- The famous Makar Sankranti festival is related to harvesting the food grains.
- The festival of Makar Sankranti holds a special significance because this is a day which marks the equal durations of day and night. This is the day after which the days become longer as well as warmer.
- The Sun starts getting close to the northern hemisphere. The significance of Makar Sankranti is marked by the celebrations of festivities by the great Aryans.
- The major reason known behind the celebration of Makar Sankranti is the onset of the harvest season. This day has been considered to be auspicious from the time of the Mahabharata because the great epic includes an episode about the festivity as well.
- Makara Sankranti is believed to be a time for peace and prosperity. The day is regarded as important for spiritual practices and accordingly, people take a holy dip in rivers, especially Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery. The bathing is believed to wash away sins.
- Makar Sankranti is also known as the festival of thanksgiving and is somewhat comparable to the western New Year’s Day, when people resolve to have a new starting and move on from past failures.
- People appreciate each other and pay homage to the sun god, who generously gives life.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in different manners across India. Every region celebrates it in innumerable ways, according to the localization, culture, and traditions. Bengalis make sweets, Telugus burn old items of the house, Punjabis create a bonfire. In short, the entire nation welcomes the new season of harvest in different styles, but with a single notion of joy.
1.) Maghi in Punjab
- The Punjabi festival Lohri is celebrated by the people on January 13, every year. The festival is associated with the harvest of the winter crops. The time of Lohri is considered as an ideal season to harvest sugarcane. Reason behind Celebration of Lohri
- Thus, the crop has become an iconic item of the festival for farmers. The day after Lohri, also known as Makar Sankranti (Maghi), is observed as the financial new year by the farmers in Punjab.
- Kite flying on Lohri is popular in some parts of Punjab. On the night of Lohri, people light bonfires to worship the god of fire and perform rituals.
- Bathing in a river in the early hours on Makar Sankranti is important. Hindus light lamps with sesame oil as this is supposed to give prosperity and drive away all sins.
- A major Mela is held at Sri Muktsar Sahib on Maghi which commemorates a historical event in Sikh history.
- People dance their famous “bhangra”. They then sit down and eat the delicious food that is specially prepared for the occasion. It is traditional to eat “kheer”, rice cooked in milk and sugarcane juice. It is also traditional to consume khichdi and jaggery.
- December and January are the coldest months of the year in the Punjab. Makar Sankranti represents the change of the season to warmer temperatures and increases in daylight.
2.) Pongal in Tamil Nadu
- Tamil Nadu also celebrates the festival of harvest in a grand fashion. The festival of harvest is known as Pongal in the state.
- The day prior to Pongal is called ‘Bhogi Pongal’. The old rudimentary items are disposed of this day. This day shows the importance of removing all the dirt and unwanted things from our home as well as our mind and making room for new ideas or things to enter our mind and life.
- Pongal in Tamil Nadu is celebrated to mark the withdrawal of the southeast monsoons as well as the reaping of the harvest. The name of the festival is derived from Pongal, a rice pudding made from freshly harvested rice, milk, and jaggery.
- Pongal is a four-day festival which according to the Gregorian calendar is normally celebrated from January 14 to January 16. This corresponds to the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai.
- Besides rice and milk, the ingredients of this sweet dish include cardamom, jaggery, raisins, Green gram (split), and cashew nuts. Cooking is done in sunlight, usually on a porch or courtyard, as the dish is dedicated to the Sun.
- The cooking is done in a clay pot that is decorated with colored patterns called kolam. Pongal has two variants, one sweet and one savory. The dish is served on banana leaves.
- The cattle are decorated with sandal paste, vermilion, turmeric, flowers and bells made out of grasses, “Netti” shoots and flowers.
- In villages of Madurai, Tirunelveli, and Ramanathapuram, Jellikattu is an important event, which is a contest for taming the wild bulls. The sweet rice Pongal and the salted Pongal are served to the cattle as a sign of gratefulness.
3.) Poush Parbon in West Bengal
- In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known as Poush Sankranti named after the Bengali month in which it falls (last date of that month), is celebrated as a harvest festival Poush Parbon.
- This month brings different opportunities for the Bengalis to enjoy on to their favorite sweet delicacies. The freshly harvested paddy and the date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur and Patali is used in the preparation of a variety of traditional Bengali sweets made with rice flour, coconut, milk and ‘khejurer gur’ (date palm jaggery) and known as ‘Pitha’.
- The last day of Poush is celebrated as Poush Sankranti in West Bengal. This day is considered auspicious among the Hindus and pilgrims from different parts of the country gather at Gangasagar, the point where Ganga river meets the Bay of Bengal.
- In the day of Makar Sankranti Hindu, God Dharma is worshiped and rice is offered to the God as Bhog.
- All sections of society participate in a three-day begins on the day before Sankranti and ends on the day after. The Goddess Lakshmi is usually worshiped on the day of Sankranti.
4.) Sakraat in Bihar and Jharkhand
- In Bihar and Jharkhand, the festival is celebrated on 14–15 January. Flying festivals are organized on a small scale.
- People take baths in rivers and ponds and feast upon seasonal delicacies as a celebration of good harvest. The delicacies include chura, gur (jaggery), sweets made of til (sesame seeds) such as tilgul, tilwa, maska, etc., curd, milk and seasonal vegetables. Kite flying festivals are organized, albeit on a small scale.
- On 15 January, it is celebrated as Makraat (in some parts of the state) when people relish special khichdi.
- People start their day by worshiping and putting til (sesame seeds) into fire followed by eating “dahi-chuda”, a dish made of beaten rice (chuda or poha, in Hindi, or avalakki, in Kannada) served with a larger serving of dahi (curd), with cooked kohada (red pumpkin) that is prepared especially with sugar and salt but no water.
- At night a special khichdi is made and served with its four traditional companions, “char yaar” (four friends) — chokha (roasted vegetable), papad, Ghee and achaar.
5.) Uttarayan in Gujarat
- Uttarayan is synonymous with kite flying. The International Kite Festival (Uttarayan) is regarded as one of the biggest festivals celebrated. Months before the festival, homes in Gujarat begin to manufacture kites for the festival.
- Every street and corner of the state are filled with enthusiastic people looking forward to celebrations.
- In Gujarat, the festival celebrations include flying kites, right from around 5 am. This is in order to absorb as much as early morning sun as possible before the summer heat gets intolerable.
- The festival is dedicated to Surya, the Sun God. People offer prayers by taking a dip in the holy Ganges. It is also believed that Surya visits his son, Shani, on this day, leaving behind all their differences.
- The gods who are believed to have slumbered for six long months are now awake and the portals of heaven are thrown open.
- During the festival, local food such as Undhiyu (a mixed vegetable including yam and beans), sesame seed brittle and Jalebi is served to the crowds.
To be in any one of these places during this festival is to feel the heart and pulse of the festival. Hire a cab with “WIWIGO” to reach the required destination. We provide you the convenient journey that too at the lowest price and service at your door step.