Makar Sankranti is
celebrated throughout India with various names and by following various
customs and traditions. It is celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu and
Lohri in Punjab. Read on to find the varied ways in which Markar
Sankranti is celebrated throughout India.
Makar Sankranti shows the arrival of spring season and is one of the auspicious festivals in India celebrated by Hindus. This day is dedicated to Lord Surya or sun and falls on January 14 usually. The remarkable thing about Makar Sankranti is that the days and nights of this date is exactly equal. The day is celebrated among Hindus all over India though with different names.
Celebration of Makar Sankranti in Different Ways
People start their day by taking bath in Holy River and then worship the Sun God. After taking bath in the morning people offer til (seas am) to Agni Devta who is God of Fire. Many go to Allahabad specially to take bath in Sangam, which is the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, on this day. Magh Mela and Ganagasagar Mela are organized where devotees go and take a dip in River Ganga and Gangasagar early in the morning this day.
Different types of food items are prepared throughout India and people visit family and friends that day to show their love and care. In Maharashtra, women invite women and present them some kitchen vessel along with offering them sweets that are made of til and jaggery or sugar. It is a kind of wishing each other health, happiness and prosperity. They prepare Puran Poli, which is a special food preparation of Maharashtra, especially on this day.
Makar Sankranti Celebration in North India
In North India it is popularly known as Til Sankranti. People prepare Khichadi, which is a combination of rice, pulses and vegetables, and many of the people distribute this to poor as well. Sweets made of til (sesame seeds) and jaggery is also offered to God and after that to all guests and family members as well. Those who live far away send messages and greet each other over the phone also.
Makar Sankranti Celebration in Assam
In Assam it is celebrated in the name of Bihu and in Bengal it is well known for Gangasagar Mela and Pithay Parban. In Orissa Makar Mela is organized and people enjoy the natural and old style of celebrating Makar Sankranti here. In Punjab, people play Lohri, which is dancing and merry making around the fire. Everywhere sweets are compulsory and the different tastes of the regions is observed and experienced.
Makar Sankranti Celebration in Tamil Nadu
In South India, especially Tamil Nadu, Sankranti is called Pongal. In Gujarat and Rajasthan it is known as Uttarayan and people fly kites on this auspicious day. The sky is full of colourful kites that day. Different types of competitions are also organized and men, women and children enjoy equally. Gujaratis also give gifts to each other especially elders give to their younger ones.
Significance of Til and Jaggery
The preparation of sweets with til and jaggery has a significance and logic behind. Til contains oil and is considered as warm food item and so when combined with jaggery it helps keep people warm in this cold and chilly winter days. Til is also considered quite healthy and has various health benefits along with keeping people warm from within.
No matter which part of India you live, you will have lot of excitement and celebration seen there. Forms are different but the intention is same, getting some relief from the winter season and giving a warm welcome to the spring season as well. This festival also has a significant place in the cultural history of India.