Makara Sankranti is the first major Hindu festival we celebrate. Also known as Uttarayana Maghi or simply Sankranti, this harvest festival usually takes place in the month of January and is celebrated in several states though under different names. Also, this festival is also known to mark the phase of transition of increasingly lengthening days. This basically means that the days start becoming longer and the nights become shorter as the sun starts making a transition toward the North.
What is the history behind Makar Sankranti?
This holy festival is dedicated to the worshipping of the Sun God ‘Surya’ for success and prosperity. To celebrate this harvest festival, devotees take a dip in the holy river Ganga and gather near its banks to sit and meditate. This dip is known to cleanse the soul and wash away the sins of the person. Despite being a dominantly Hindu festival, it is actually celebrated with great fervor throughout the country. This harvest festival is celebrated by worshipping the first crop of the season and rewari and popcorns and distributed.
This festival is predominantly celebrated for the agricultural community as they celebrate their harvest. It is among the few festivals in India which is celebrated according to the solar cycle instead of the lunar cycle. The most unique part of this festival is that it is almost celebrated on the same day every year i.e. on 15th January. The Uttarayana period, which is an auspicious 6 months period for Hindus also marks its beginning on this day.
By large, this festival celebrates the harvest season where farmers have worked really hard on their farms--sowed the seeds and ploughed the fields--and are about to reap the benefits. It is the time when the first crop of the season is worshipped with great devotion and people celebrate by singing songs and dancing around the bonfire.
What do people eat on Makar Sankranti?
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with a lot of fervour and enthusiasm, which includes making several delicacies, particularly laddoos made with til (sesame seeds) and gud (jaggery). These laddoos and chikkis are distributed amongst people and symbolize harmony amongst them. In Northern India, particularly in Delhi and Haryana, rewari, gazak, popcorns and peanuts are the celebratory staples. The Devotees in Bihar make khichdi to celebrate this harvest festival.
Celebration in other parts of India:
Being a pan Indian festival, Makar Sankranti is celebrated in Southern India as Thai Pongal. This harvest festival is celebrated from 14-17 January, according to the Tamil calendar. It is also known with different names in different parts of the country, namely, Khichdi, Uttaryan, Mahi and Maagh Bihu.
In Maharastra, til-gud laddoos are specially made and distributed amongst people. Interestingly, in Gujarat, it is celebrated as Uttarayan i.e. as the kite festival which is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and people hold kite-flying competitions.
Date & Timings : This year, Makar Sankranti takes place right after Lohri, on Sunday, January 15, 2023. According to Drik Panchang's calculations, the festival will commence at 8:57, on January 14. The Makar Sankranti Punya Kala will start at 7:15 am and last till 5:46 pm. The Makara Sankranti Maha Punya Kala will begin at 7:15 am and end at 9:00 pm.Bengalen wishing you all a very happy Makar Sankranti 2023! Have a happy and safe festival, filled with love, laughter and lots of delicacies!