India is a land of unity in diversity and it is evidently observed during the festivals.
Each festival in the country is celebrated with utmost fervour and gaeity. One such festival is Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated across the country with different names but with a common purpose.
Celebrated as a harvest festival, Makar Sankranti is a day to thank mother nature for all the natural resources and the production.
Besides, it is the biggest festival dedicated to the Sun God.
So as India celebrates the beginning of the harvest season, we bring you some interesting facts about Makar Sankranti:
1. Signifance of the name
Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the sun into the zodiacal sign of ‘Makara’ on its celestial path, which is the first change in the zodiac after the winter solstice and is the first day of the month of Magha. It also signifies the return of longer days.
2. One festival different celebration
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in different ways with different names across the country. In north India, it is celebrated as Lohri; in Bihar and Jharkhand, peopl prefer taking holy dip in rivers to wash away their sins, while the day is celebrated as a kite flying day in Gujarat. In fact, International Kite Festival is also celebrated on this day in India.
3. A day of til and gud
Though Makar Sankranti is celebrated with different names across India, one thing is common in the celebration - jaggery or gur. Several dishes are made of jaggery and til (sesame seeds) to keep the body warm in winter. Till ke laddu (seasame) made with jaggery is prepared on this occasion and it is the speciality of this festival. Everyone says “til-gul ghya ani gud gud bola” which means “eats these sesame seeds and jaggery and speak sweet words”.
4. Makar Sankranti Mela
Several fairs are organised in different parts of the country to mark the festival of Makar Sankranti. The popular Kumbh Mela, which is held after every 12 years begins on this day, whereas in West Bengal the Gangasagar or Sagardweep mela begins where pilgrims take a dip in the holy river water to wash off their sins.
5. Makar Sankranti is also known as Thanksgiving Day
Makar Sankranti draws parallel with the Thanksgiving festival, as both festivals mark the beginning of the harvest season and are celebrated to show our gratitude towards food and a noble excuse to spend a good time with family and friends—one that we’ve lost in the hustle and bustle of city life.