MakarSankranti is an Indian festival celebrated in almost all parts of India and Nepal in lots of cultural forms. It is a harvest festival.Offering prayers and worship to the Sun God, MakarSankranti inspires to have peace and unity.MakarSankranti marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn) on its celestial path. The day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India and is a traditional event. MakaraSankranthi is a solar event making one of the few Indian festivals which fall on the same date in the Gregorian calendar every year: 14 January, with some exceptions when the festival is celebrated on 15 January. Primarily a harvest and thanksgiving festival in India, each state and region has its own way of celebrating MakarSankranti.
Spiritual significance behind the festival:
According to legends, on this special day, Lord Sun meets his son Sani for the first time. Another story says that on the day of MakarSankranti Lord Krishna demolished the terror of Ashuras. Hence this period symbolizes the ending of evil power and the beginning of a peaceful new era.
Since India is mainly a land of agrarian society, the festival of Pongal is observed in different regions, under different names with different rituals in different parts of India.There are many harvest festivals celebrated here. This festival is celebrated all over India on the same day, but has different names in each region. However, being a harvest festival, bonfires and feasts are the main thing common to all the celebrations of Pongal festival. Discussed here are the various names of Pongal prevalent in India and their unique way of celebration.
It is one of the major Indian harvest festival celebrated on 14th of January of every year. It’s an important festival of the Hindus and celebrated almost everywhere in the country in myriad cultural forms and different names. Every region celebrate it in innumerable ways, according to the localization, culture and traditions.
Delhi and Haryana:
Delhi and Haryana and many neighbouring states consider Sakraat or Sankranti to be a main festival of the year.
Churma of ghee, halwa and kheer are cooked specially on this day. One brother of every married woman visits her home with a gift of some warm clothing for her and her husband’s family. It is called “Sidha”. Women used to give a gift to their in-laws, and this rituals called “Manana”. The recipient will sit in a haweli (main palace where men sit together and share hookka). Women go to haweli to sing folk songs and give gifts.
In Punjab, MakarSankranti is celebrated as Maghi. Bathing in a river in the early hours on Maghi is important. Hindus light lamps with sesame oil as this is supposed to give prosperity and drive away all sins. A major mela is held at Sri Muktsar Sahib on Maghi which commemorates a historical event in Sikh history.
December and January are the coldest months of the year in the Punjab. Maghi represents the change of the season to warmer temperatures and increase in daylight.
Main article: Thai Pongal
It is a four-day festival in Tamil Nadu:Day 1 marks BhogiPandigai, Day 2 is Thai Pongal, Day 3 MaattuPongal and KaanumPongal is celebrated on day 4.
The festival is celebrated four days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai.
In Maharashtra on MakaraSankranti (मकरसंक्रान्ति) day people exchange multicolouredhalwa (sugar granules coated in sugar syrup) and til-gullaadoo (sweetmeats made from sesame seeds and jaggery). Gulachipoli/puranpoli (गुळाचीपोळी / पुरणपोळी) (flat bread stuffed with soft/shredded jaggery mixed with toasted, ground til [white sesame seeds]) and some gram flour, which has been toasted to golden in pure ghee, are offered for lunch. While exchanging til-gul as tokens of goodwill people greet each other with the words “तिळगुळघ्या, आणिगोड-गोडबोला / til-gulghyaa, aani goad-goad bolaa” meaning ‘Accept this til-gul (sweet) and utter sweet words’. The underlying thought in the exchange of til-gul is to forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends.
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