Makar Sankranti is one of the most important festivals celebrated all across India, which is observed on January 14th every year. Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of the harvest season in different parts of the country and is celebrated under different names.
Unlike most other festivals that are usually followed according to the lunar cycle of the Hindu calendar, Makar Sankranti is observed according to the solar cycle. In this article, we will explore the significance and history of this festival.
This year, Makar Sankranti falls on January 15th. The Maha Sakranti Punya Kala will commence at 7:15 AM and continue till 5:46 PM. The Maha Sakranti Maha Punya Kala, on the other hand, will be observed from 7:15 AM to 9:00 PM.
Sankranti Day is an ode to pay tribute to the Sun God. It marks the end of the long winter months and the beginning of spring. During ancient times, Makar Sankranti was considered to be the time when the shift of the Sun’s position resulted in longer days. With Makar Sankranti, the Sun commences its northward journey, which is also known as the Uttarayan journey. Therefore, this day signifies the change of season and is believed to be a sign of hope and positivity by many.
Since this is a harvest festival, Makar Sankranti is also a time of celebration and joy, especially in the farming community. On this day, farmers all across India wish for a bountiful harvest, and ranchers worship their bulls, which have played a very significant role in all their farming activities.
Overall, this is the day when the said community gets to reap all the sweet fruits of their year-long hard labor.
The Sankranti day marks the onset of spring and the movement of the Sun into the zodiac of Capricorn, also referred to as ‘Makara Raashi’. Additionally, this is also the day when families get together and enjoy a good time together, forgetting all their worries and troubles. On this day, people engage in altruistic activities, such as feeding the poor and helping the needy.
Makar Sankranti is not celebrated in just one particular state but all across India. Therefore, different states observe this auspicious day in different manners. On that note, let’s take a look at some of the various ways of celebrating Makar Sankranti.
In Bengal, this day is celebrated by taking a dip in the holy water near spiritual places. Additionally, various large fairs are also organized, where people get to enjoy good food and overall have a gala time with their friends and families.
The celebration of Makar Sankranti continues for three days in Maharashtra, when people engage in various fun activities, such as flying colorful kites, exchanging gifts, adorning each other with Haldi-kumkum, and preparing delicious food items.
Like all other states, Rajasthan too follows the tradition of kite flying on this particular day. Furthermore, Sankrat Bhoj is also organized, especially for newlyweds. It refers to the first Sankranti after marriage. Some of the classic food items prepared on this day include Dal Pakodi (fried Dal snack), Halwa (carrot pudding), and sweets such as Til Ladoos (sesame seed balls), among others.
Also known as Sankrant, especially in Goa, on this day, the locals prepare a variety of delicious food items to offer as Prasad to the deity. Furthermore, on the last day of the celebration, the temple deity is carried around the village in a chariot, and devotees offer coconuts and rice to the temple.
Last but not least, celebration in states such as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana consists of thanking the Sun God by preparing elaborate feasts, decorating houses with Rangoli, and paying respect to the ancestors.
Some of the various states that celebrate this auspicious day includes,
Makar Sankranti is known by different names in different states. Here is a list containing some of them.
In most regions of India, the celebration lasts for a period of 2-3 days. Each day follows distinct rituals and names.
Makar Sankranti is not just celebrated in India but also in various other countries across the globe. For example, in Pakistan, this day is referred to as Tirmoori. Similarly, in other countries such as Sri Lanka, Singapore, or Malaysia, Makar Sankranti is also celebrated as Thai Pongal or Uzhavar Thirunal.
Hopefully, this has cleared all your doubts about why this festival is celebrated, and how it is celebrated. India is a land of varied cultures and traditions. But what unites all the different states together is the celebration of these festivals, and although they might have different names, the emotions remain the same. Makar Sankranti is an example of one such festival. It is a day of merriment and joy for all the people, and is celebrated with great zeal and pomp all over the country.
Ans. Makar Sankranti follows the solar calendar, and marks the day when the Sun transits into the Capricorn zodiac, also referred to as the Makara Rashi. It is celebrated on January 14th every year and is considered to be one of the most auspicious days of the Hindu calendar.
Ans. When it comes to the celebration of this festival, there are a few do’s and don’ts that everyone needs to follow, and not eating non-vegetarian meals is one such example. Consumption of items such as onions, meat, and garlic, is prohibited on this day.
Ans. Black, although considered to be an inauspicious color, by many, is believed to be lucky, especially for this day. This is because it is the day when the Sun begins its Northern journey, and people bid farewell to the long cold winter months and welcome spring. Additionally, various other bright colors are also worn with much pomp and zeal on this day.
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