[The festival of Makar Sankranti holds special value in the states of
and Haryana as it also celebrates the special bond between brothers and their married sisters. Brothers visit their married sisters and gift them warm clothes and sweets. Similarly, the wives also gift their in-laws and husband’s families on the day. All the men and women congregate in a common place and celebrate the festival by singing songs and with music.] Delhi
By Rutu Ladage
It’s Makar Sankranti today and the festival is celebrated all over
with a whole lot of excitement. The spring
festival, Makar Sankranti is the first Indian festival of the Gregorian
calendar and is celebrated as a solstice festival. It is one of the few
festivals in the country that falls on the same day every year. Each state and
region of India celebrates the festival in their own way and
there are even some neighbouring countries that celebrate Makar Sankranti! The
festival has tons of names but the fervour of celebration is the same all over!
Makar Sankranti is symbolic of kite flying, seasame chikkis and sweets and lots
of family bonding! India
1. Maghe Sankranti –
Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Maghe Sankranti and like most regions, they too celebrate the festival with sesame seeds. One of the legends has it that aeons ago, a businessman had a sack of sesame seeds which never seemed to end. On digging through the bag, he found an idol of Lord Vishnu in the bag and hence, sesame seeds became auspicious. After Makar Sankranti, the auspicious period commences and all ceremonies are done in
2. Makara Sankranti - Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
In Andhra and Telangana, Makar Sankranti is a 4-day festival and is celebrated with a lot of excitement. The families come together and celebrate it with a lot of sweets and in a traditional ways. The first day is Bhoghi, second Makara Sankranti, third is Kanuma and fourth is Mukkanuma. The traditions and celebrations on each day are different an while the first three days a strict vegetarian diet is followed, on Mukkanuma, animal is sacrificed to the God and meat is savoured.
3. Sakraat or Khichdi –
Bihar and Jharkhand
The festival is a 2-day festival in
and Jharkhand where the people take holy dips in the river early in the morning
and then, have bonfires into which they offer sesame seeds. Delicacies are
prepared with sesame seeds and jaggery. The women folk in villages come
together and celebrate the festival while cooking simple but hearty meals of
rice and lentils or curd and rice/puffed rice with some vegetables.
4. Sakraat -
and Haryana Delhi
The festival of Makar Sankranti holds special value in the states of
and Haryana as it also celebrates the
special bond between brothers and their married sisters. Brothers visit their
married sisters and gift them warm clothes and sweets. Similarly, the wives
also gift their in-laws and husband’s families on the day. All the men and
women congregate in a common place and celebrate the festival by singing songs
and with music. Delhi
5. Uttarayan –
Makar Sankranti is celebrated on a lavish scale in
Gujarat and the state also has a special
International Kite Flying festival. People stay at home on leave and after
prayers in the morning, congregate on terrace tops with their kites. There are
lots of kite games and kite wars. People feed each other sweets like chikki and
a special preparation ofUndhiyu (a mix of spcied vegetables is made). The state
celebrates the festival lavishly.
6. Magha Saaji – Himachal Pradesh
Saaji is the local word for Sankrant and Magha is the name of the month and the sun-sign (capricorn) that commences with the arrival of the festival. The day signals a change in seasons and people welcome spring by taking a dip in the rivers or bathe in holy water. They visit their neighbours and share sweets like chikki or khichdi and ghee (clarified butter). The locals also visit temples and do a lot of charity on this day. The evening is celebrated with folk songs and dances.
7. Suggi – Karnataka
Suggi is the harvest festival of Karnataka celebrated mainly by farmers and the women. The women visit each other’s houses in a ritual known as Ellu Birodhu and they carry a plate of offerings and sweets with them for exchange. The plate has sesame seeds and jaggery, and other nuts like fried ground nuts and coconut, sugar-cane pieces and sugar candies. Women also draw rangolis outside their homes and decorate the cattle with colourful decorations and paint their horns.
8. Ghughuti or Kale Kauva – Uttarakhand
In Uttarakhand, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as the festival of the migratory birds as they believe it is the season for the birds to end their migration. The locals give khichdi and other food as charity and organise fairs and meet-ups. Sweetmeats are made out of sweetened flour by frying them and then asking the children to offer these sweets to crows as a blessing for the migratory birds on their homeward journey.
9. Maghi –
Also celebrated as Lohri, Maghi signals the change to warmer weather and the day holds a special place in the hearts of the residents of
Punjab. They bathe early in the morning and light
lamps with sesame oil to drive away the darkness (from life) and bring in the
prosperity. They also have huge bonfires in the evenings and enjoy their day by
socialising and having a hearty meal with sesame sweets.
10. Pongal – Tamil Nadu
Just like Andhra, Tamil Nadu also celebrates Pongal for 4 days with each of the days having a special significance. On the first day, people clean and decorate their houses, wear new clothes and discard or give away all the unwanted things. On the second day, that is the main Pongal day, people celebrate by having sweets and sweet rice reparations. The rice is brought to a boil with milk and jaggery and allowed to boil over the pot. The minute the rice boils over, there is a spcial cry uttered and Pongal is celebrated. The rice is offered to the God and then shared by the people. The other two days involve worshipping the cattle and viviting the relatives.
11. Poush Parbon -
Poush Parbon is celebrated in
festival falls on the last day of the Hindu month of Poush and signals the
beginning of Magha and hence, it is named after the month. Special palm jaggery,
Khejurer Gur, that is available only during this period, is used to prepare
sweets and delicacies. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on the day of Sankranti. However,
in , the festival is celebrated as Magey Sakrati
and Lord Shiva is worshipped. Darjeeling