Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Celebration of Makar Sankranti

Makara Sankranti is the festival celebrated in almost all parts of India and Nepal. It is also known as the harvest festival. If you plan traveling to India this would be the right time for you to share traditions, and customs and enjoy a very colorful and joyous festival. Makar Sankranti festival marks the transition of the Sun in the zodiac sign of Makara Rashi (Capricorn) on its celestial path. It is also a cause for joy at the arrival of spring.

Among the activities performed during the festival thousands of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar and Prayag and pray to the Sun God. This is considered a purifying bath ritual. Pongal is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of the country. In Punjab, it is celebrated as Lohri and Maghi. In a trip to North India, you can see how this festival brings together families and friends and know how each region gives its particular touch to the festivities.



People get up very early in the morning, before dawn. They worship the rising sun, offer water, and flowers with both hands and then pray with folded hands to sing the Gayatri Mantra and pray for knowledge, wisdom, and enlightenment. They provide water to the ancestors, as they prayed for their blessings. Women prepare laddus or other sweets with Til and Gur and offer it to friends and family. Many have lunch with Khichiri. People donate on this day to the needy.

During this festival, it is customary to buy kites to fly them. It is a means of fun, amidst meeting with friends and family. Between races and the other you can delight your palate with local delicacies at the food stands set up for the occasion, such as delicious Til Ke Laddu, the Gajak or Feeni. At night you will be fascinated by Tukals, the illuminated kites that are raised to the sky, creating beautiful designs with their wakes.

Makar Sankranti is highly regarded by Indians from north to south. The day is known by various names and a variety of traditions are witnessed as one explores the festival in different states.

In Uttar Pradesh, Sankrant is called Khichiri. Take a dip at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati the Sangam, Allahabad is considered an auspicious day. In Punjab, the eve of Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Lohri in which bonfires are lit and people make happy. The next day, which is Sankrant is celebrated as' Maghi. Punjab is dancing his famous Bhangra dance until they are exhausted.

In Bundelkhand and Madhya Pradesh, the festival is known as Sukarat or Sakarat and is celebrated with great pomp and merriment accompanied by a lot of sweets. While in Bengal, a big fair is held at Ganga Sagar, where the Ganges river enters the sea.

In Gujarat, there is a custom of giving gifts to relatives. In Maharashtra, it is customary to exchange a sweet preparation called til-polis as a sign of love. In addition, married women are invited to a meeting called Haldi-Kumkoo and given gifts of any utensil, purchased by the woman of the house.

In Tamil Nadu, the festival of Sankranti is known by the name of Pongal. It is very popular, especially among farmers. On this day, people worship the sun. It is also a big event for the people of Andhra Pradesh. The Telugus call Makar Sankranti as Pedda Panduga. The event is held for four days. The first day is called Bhogi, the second day as Sankranti, the third day as Kanuma and the fourth day as Mukkanuma.

The residents of Jaipur, generally, on this day go for pilgrimage to Galtaji, an ancient Indian temple, 10 km from Jaipur. Here devotees take a bath on the day of Makar Sankranti as a sign of good luck, good health and to get a good harvest.

8 comments:

kalaiselvisblog said...

dats a wonderful information about Pongal buddy... really happy to c ur post...

Happy New Year & advance Pongal wishes...

nityakalyani said...

Kalyan, the write up was very interesting. Will it be possible to explain it more in details. You might know that in Tamilnadu it is a 4-5 day events. It starts with bogi, pongal, matthu pongal, kannu pongal and final day you will have jalli kattu [ bull tamming]. will appreciate your writings on this also. Happy NEW YEAR

Kala said...

Very interesting and information commentary and photos.

Anweshan - The Eternal Search said...

the farewell to winter begins frm here on...

CameraCruise said...

Beautiful post!
Have a great weekend.

Deeps @ Naughty Curry said...

how informative! loved reading every bit of info & a happy sankranthi to u too :)

lisa said...

My goodness, everything always looks so yummy here Kalyan!
Here in the U.S., we are in the middle of winter, and when I look at the first photograph here, it reminds me of a beautiful warm summer day. What a gorgeous photograph it is!
Have a great weekend my Friend.

Michelle Renee said...

Pretty greens and yellows!