MAKAR SANKRANTI: A Harvesting Festival!
Makar Sankranti is a mid-winter festival of India and Nepal. The festival is celebrated to mark the transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn during the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere (or the beginning of Uttarayana).
The festival is celebrated by taking dips in the Ganga or any river and offering water to the Sun god. The dip is said to purify the self and bestow punya. Special puja is offered as a thanksgiving for good harvest.Since the festival is celebrated in the mid winter, the food prepared for this festival are such that they keep the body warm and give high energy. Laddu of til made with sugarcane juice is specialty of the festival.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India and Nepal with some some regional variations:
In North India,
- Punjab - Lohri
- West Bengal and Assam - Bhogali Bihu
- Gujarat and Rajastan - Uttarayan (Kite flying festival)
In South India,
- In Kerala and Tamilnadu - Pongal
- In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh - Sankranthi
- Other parts of India as Makara Sankranti
- Tharu people - Maghi
- Other people - Maghe Sankranti or Maghe Sakrati
Many Melas or fairs are held on Makar Sankranti the most famous being the Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years at one of four holy locations, namely Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nashik. The Magh Mela (or mini-Kumbh Mela held annually at Prayag) and the Gangasagar Mela (held at the head of the Ganges River, where it flows into the Bay of Bengal).Makar Sankranti falls on January 14 on non-leap years and on January 15 on leap years. It is the only Hindu festival which is based on the Solar calendar rather than the Lunar calendar. The day is a holiday in the state of Gujarat.
Makara Sankranti is celebrated in Kerala at Sabarimala where the Makara Jyothi is visible followed by the Makara Vilakku celebrations.
HAPPY MAKAR SANKRANTI!!!!!!!