Makar Sankranti is celebrated differently at
different places and has a variety of rituals associated.
Maharashtra takes the limelight when it comes
to the celebration of Makar Sankranti. People here come together to exchange
sweets especially laddus made of Til (Sesame seeds) and Jaggery. Women who are
married get together to exchange utensils and put Haldi Kumkum on their
forehead. Hindus wear ornaments made of ‘Halwa’ on this day.
In Orissa, families get together to prepare
some authentic delicacies on the eve of Makar Sankranti. They prepare a special
dish called ‘Ghantaa’ which is a curry made of different cereals and
vegetables. They also prepare some sweet dishes. Many of Orissa celebrate the
day of Sankranti by lighting bonfires, dancing and eating their particular
dishes sitting together. The Bhaya tribals of Orissa have their Magh yatra in
which small home-made articles are put for sale.
In Uttar Pradesh, Sankranti is called
‘Khichiri’. Taking a dip in the holy rivers on this day is regarded as most auspicious. A big one-month long ‘Magha-Mela’ fair begins at Prayag in
Allahabad on this occasion. Apart from Triveni, ritual bathing also takes place
at many places like Haridwar and Garh Mukteshwar in Uttar Pradesh, and Patna in
The famous Ganga Sagar river witnesses a huge
Mela every year during Makar Sankranti. This is the place where river Ganga is
believed to have divided into the nether region and vivified the ashes of the
sixty thousand ancestors of King Bhagirath. This meal is attended by a large
number of pilgrims from all over the country.
Pongal is the festival which is very similar
to Makar Sankranti and is one of the major festivities of South India. Rice and
pulses cooked together in ghee and milk are offered to the family deity after
the ritual worship. In this, they worship the Sun God.
The people of Andhra celebrate it for three
long days and call it ‘Pedda Panduga’ meaning big festival. The whole event
lasts for four days, the first day Bhogi, the second day Sankranti, the third
day Kanuma and the fourth day, Mukkanuma.
For the Gujurati’s, the festival is more
about socializing and show your love for your relatives. They exchange gifts,
arrange dinners and perform Puja together. The Gujarati Pundits on this
auspicious day grant scholarships to students for higher studies in astrology
and philosophy. This festival thus helps the maintenance of social
relationships within the family, caste, and community.
Punjab celebrated this occasion as Lohri.
This period being the coldest of the year they lit huge bonfires and participate
in entertaining activities. Sweets, sugarcane, and rice are thrown in the
bonfires, around which friends and relatives gather together. The following
day, which is Sankrant, is celebrated as MAGHI. The Punjabi dance their
famous Bhangra dance and eat sumptuous dinner together.
In Assam, the festival is celebrated as
Bhogali Bihu. This is known as Bihu of eating food and getting involved in
enjoyment. This is again the end of the harvest season and hence solves the same
purpose as Makar Sankranti.
KNOW MORE ABOUT MAKAR SANKRANTI
Regional celebrations of Makar Sankranti in different states of India