Happy Makar Sankranti.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days and celebrated in almost all parts of the country with cultural variations.
According to the Gregorian calendar, post new year the first festival celebrated in India is ‘Makar Sankranti’.
Mostly Indian festivals are celebrated according to the lunar calendar except for Makar Sankranti which is celebrated according to the Solar calendar.
That is the reason why Indian festivals have no fixed dates except for Makar Sankranti which falls on 14th of January every year.
Due to earth’s revolution, after every 80 years the day of ‘Makar Sankranti’ is postponed by one day.
Hence, you might have observed that since few years this festival is celebrated on the 15th of January.
Makar Sankranti, as the name suggests Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti means transition which means movement of Sun from one zodiac sign to another which is Capricorn. On this day the Sun begins its ascendancy and enters into Northern Hemisphere.
The length of Day and Night are equal on this day. This festival marks the beginning of Spring or Summer and the days become longer making the length of night shorter.
Makar Sankranti is mainly the harvest festival celebrated almost across all parts of India.
In north India, this festival is celebrated as Lohri wheres down south this is known as Pongal.
In Maharashtra, on this day, til-guls are prepared and distributed among all. Til-guls are ladoos made by combining sesame seeds and jaggery.
People, while distributing the til-guls usually say, “Til-gul ghya ani god god bola” which means people ask each other to bury the hatchet with foes and resolve to speak sweet and leave in peace.
During winter eating sesame is considered beneficial for health as it is warm food.
Married women, on this day, are invited for a get-together known as Haldi-Kumkum where useful household gifts, purchased by the woman of the house, are given.
In Gujarat, this festival is celebrated in more or less similar fashion. This festival is associated with flying of kites which has even gained popularity internationally.
In Punjab, this festival is celebrated as ‘Lohari’. Due to cold whether bonfire is lit during ‘Lohari’.
Sugarcane and rice are thrown on the bonfire and relatives gather together.
In Uttar Pradesh, this day is celebrated as ‘Khichiri” where people consider taking a dip in holy rivers auspicious.
In Assam, this festival is celebrated as ‘Bhogali Bihu’.
In Tamil Nadu, this day is celebrated as ‘Pongal’.
This festival is more popular among farmers. Rice and pulses are cooked together in ghee and milk and offered to the family deity.
In Andhra Pradesh, the three-day harvest festival is celebrated as ‘Pongal’.