An entire day is devoted to worshipping Lord Surya on the Hindu holiday of Makar Sankranti. The festival commemorates the moment the sun enters the Capricorn zodiac sign or Makara Rashi. According to the solar calendar, it occurs every year on January 14. In addition, the festival ushers in a fresh harvesting season and signals the end of winter. It is significant in terms of both the season and religion. In the Hindu calendar, it is regarded as one of the most fortunate days.
The Hindu calendar’s Sankranti day, which honours the Lord Sun, also designates a particular solar day. The sun arrives at the Capricorn or Makar sign on this blessed day, signalling the end of winter as well as the start of longer days. This is the first day of the period of Magh. Sankranti is postponed by one day to make up for the difference caused by the sun’s revolution around the earth for each 80 years. The sun starts its northward or Uttarayan journey during the day of Makar Sankranti. As a result, another name for this festival is Uttarayan. Farmers all over the nation make harvest-related wishes on this day.
History and Significance of Makar Sankranti:
Sankranti is considered a Deity. According to folklore around the people, Sankranti killed the devil Sankarasur and Karidin or Kinkrant is the name of the day that follows Makar Sankrant. Devi killed the evil Kinkarasur on this particular day. Makar Sankranti is observed under various names in various parts of the nation.
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A day before Makar Sankranti, India celebrates Lohri, which is most fervently observed in Haryana as well as Punjab. The bonfire is surrounded by people at night, who throw popcorn, til, as well as puffed rice into the fires. Offerings of prayers for prosperity and abundance are made to the bonfire.
Festival of Donation:
In Uttar Pradesh, the festival of Donation also known as “Khichdi”—is the main event. The month-long Magh fair in Allahabad, which takes place at the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati, only begins on the day of Makar Sankranti. In Uttar Pradesh, people who observe a fast on this auspicious day eat as well as offer khichdi. Additionally, Gorakhdham in Gorakhpur hosts the Khichdi Mela.
● The festival of Makar Sankranti is referred to as Khichdi in Bihar. Giving away items like urad, rice, precious metals, woollen clothing, blankets, etc. has special significance on this day.
● During their first Sankrant, all married women in Maharashtra give salt, oil, and cotton to other married as well as suhagan women.
● On Makar Sankrant, it is customary in Bengal to keep giving til after taking a bath. Every year, a sizable fair is also held in Gangasagar.
● This festival is observed as Pongal for four days during Makar Sankranti in Tamil Nadu.
● The Makar Sankranti holiday in Gujarat is celebrated with a kite festival.
Some facts about Makar Sankranti:
● With an approximate attendance of 40 to 100 million citizens, the Hindus celebrate Makar Sankranti every twelve years with one of the greatest mass pilgrimages in the world, breaking the previous record for the largest religious group of individuals. They offer prayers to the sun and take baths at the Prayaga conflation of the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna during this celebration, a custom credited to Adi Shankara.
● Makar Sankranti signifies the conclusion of Malmaas, an unlucky month in the Hindu (Panchang) calendar, as well as the Sun’s passage into the zodiac sign of Makar (Capricorn), which marks the beginning of a new season. Assam celebrates it as Bhogali Bihu, the north celebrates it as Lohri, and the south celebrates it as Pongal.
● During the Til-Gul festival of Makar Sankranti, sesame and jaggery laddoos or chikkis are given out to everyone. The proverb “Til-gul ghya ani gud gud bola,” which means “eat these sesame seeds and jaggery and speak soothing words,” is typically used with them. Sesame and jaggery are considered healthy foods to eat during the festival because they are warm since it is in the winter. In light of its symbolic meaning of kinship and good health, this particular sweet is distributed.
And that’s everything you need to know about Makar Sankranti, also known as Pongal in the south. Let us know how you’re planning on helping your fellow Hindu friends celebrate this special day.
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