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Makar Sankranti

January 12, 2011

Makar Sankranti


Introduction

Makar Sankranti is celebrated with fervour all over India though in different names and forms. It is considered as the most auspicious day by the Hindus.

The Makar Sankranti festival marks the day when the sun begins its northward journey and enters the sign of Makar (the Capricorn) from the Tropic of Cancer. In other words, the sun moves from Dakshinayana (south) to Uttarayana (north). The day falls on the 14th of January every year according to the Solar Calendar.

On this day people take a holy dip at Prayag and Ganga Sagar and worship Sun. The tradition of kite flying adds zeal to the festival.

Origin

Makar Sankranti festival holds special significance according to the solar calendar as the day and night are of exactly equal duration on this day. For the people of northern hemisphere, the northward path of the sun marks the period when the sun is getting closer to them. This signifies that the days will get longer and warmer after Makar Sankranti.

The importance of the day was noted even by the Aryans who celebrated the auspicious day as a festival. Also, an episode from the great epic Mahabharata shows that people in early times marked the day as auspicious. Warrior-hero Bhishma Pitamah even after being wounded in the Mahabharata war lingered on till Uttarayan set in. Death on this day is set to bring Moksha or salvation for the deceased.

Makar Sankranti Celebration in Different States

Makar Sankranti is celebrated all across the country with great zeal, vigor and fervor. India being such a diverse country, all states celebrate this festival in their own individual style, tradition and culture.

Tribals

The Tribals in our country mark this occasion by lighting bonfires and dancing around it. They all make their particular extravagant dishes and eat it together. The Bhuya tribals of Orissa have their Maghyatra wherein they put up small homemade articles for sale.

Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, Makar Sankranti is known as “Khicheri.”. Everybody bathes in the holy waters of Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati at Prayagraj. It is believed to be auspicious to take a holy dip in these waters.

West Bengal

In Bengal, It is a mythology that River Ganga had flown in to the Northern region and purified the ashes of the sixty thousand ancestors of King Bhagirath. This mela is attendeda by a large number of pilgrims from East India.

South India

In the south, Makar Sankranti is known Pongal and it is the harvest festival of this region. Rice and pulses cooked together in ghee and milk is offered to the family deity after the ritual worship. Verybody is dressed in colourful tunics visit friends and relatives and exchange pieces of sugarcane, a mixture of fried til, molasses, pieces of dry coconut, peanuts and fried gram. The significance of this exchange is that sweetness should prevail in all the dealings.

Punjab

January is the coldest month in Punjab and hence during Makar Sankranti, the advent of the new year is celebrated by lighting a bonfire, popularly known as “lohri” and “maghi”. The bonfire signifies the burning away of all evils for a bright and auspicious new year.

Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, people exchange sweets and greet each other with a thought – “accept these sweets and speak sweet words”. The main reason for exchanging sweets like til guhas and til polis are to forgt any past hard and harsh feelings and to start afresh!!!

MP Bundelkhand

Makar Sankranti in the central region of India, madhya pradesh and Bundelkhand is known as “SUKARAT” or “SAKARAT”. It is celebrated with great pomp, color and joy.

Gujarat

In Gujarat, this day is celebrated by people giving gifts to their relatives. The Gujarati Pundits on this auspicious day grant scholarships to students for higher studies in astrology and philosophy. This festival thus help the maintenance of social relationships within the family, caste and community.

Makar Sankranti Recipes

Like every festival in India, Makar sankranti is also associated with tasty and delicious dishes. Most of these traditional Indian dishes use either rice or sesame seeds as primary ingredients. The makar sankranti recipes are easy and quick to make and can be relished by one and all.

  1. Til Ke Ladoo
  2. Khichdi
  3. Til Poli
  4. Pongal
  5. Til Burfi


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One Comment
  1. You are really a nice author. Your text is very good. Keep it up!!!

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