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Makar Sankranti

January 26, 2013

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of our country in the Hindu month of Magha. It is celebrated on a fixed date, January 14, every year the day the sun moves from the topics of cancer to the topic of Capricorn of from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana. The movement of the earth from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the sun moves into the Capricorn zodiac knoen as Makar in Hindi it is called Makar Sankranti.

On this day, before sunrise, the devout bathe in the sacred River Ganga, then pray to the rising Sun and Make offerings of flowers while the air rings with the fervent chant of the holy Gayatri Mantra. The day is considered specially blessed because it is believed Goddess Ganga descended on earth at this time. Alms giving have a special importance on this day and khichdi is a special food given in charity. In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti is a time for spirited, competitive kite flying. The International kite’s festival is held on this day in Ahmadabad. In Maharashtra, it is time to meet family and friends and enjoy sesame seed laddoos after their first sugarcane harvest of the year. In tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh, Makar Sankrati is a four day festival known as Pongal which is also the name of a very special dish prepared on the second day. Pongal is first offered to the Sun god then shared among family and friends. In Assam of Makar Sankranti coincides with the festival of Magh Bihu. This is the time when the harvest has just been gathered. So it is time to celebrate. Community feasts are held all organized. Makar Sankranti is celebrated in Kerala at Sabarimala where the Makara Jyothi is visible followed by Makara Vilakku celebrations. In Punjab huge bonfires are lit a day before, on January 13, at sunset marking the end if the winter season called the festival of Lohri. People sing and dance around the fire and rituals are performed to thank the Sun God and seek his continued with the harvest of the rabi crops. Rajasthan Ghevar Gajak, Kheer,etc. In West Bengal it is celebrated as a harvest festival called poush Sankranti or Poush Parba.

  Happy Makar Sankranti

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