Makar Sankranti is just a week away, on January 14. In most states of India, Makar Sankranti is synonymous with the harvest festival – a time for rejoicing and welcoming the spring season. Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of a six-month auspicious period known as Uttarayana, when the Sun travels to the northern hemisphere, according to the Hindu calendar. States across India, celebrate Makar Sankranti in unique ways. This is the time for family get-togethers, celebrating around bonfires and flying kites. The main rituals include Ganga snan or taking a holy dip in the Ganga, Anna daan or charity and making special Makar Sankranti delicacies line Dahi Chuda, Khichri and sweets made of til or sesame and jaggery.
Makar Sankranti 2021 celebrations: 10 key things to know about the festival
- Makar Sankranti is a celebration of a bumper harvest – the winter rabi crop
- On Makar Sankranti, the Surya devta or the Sun God is worshipped as a mark of gratitude for blessing the farmers with a good crop
- It marks the Sun’s transit into Makara or Capricorn, which means the end of the winter solstice and the start of longer days
- In Gujarat and Rajasthan Makar Sankranti is known as Uttarayana, in Haryana and Punjab Makar Sankranti is known as Maghi
- In Kerala, the festival is known as Makaravilakku, when the divine light is seen on the Sabarimala hills and thousands of visitors come to witness the light
- In Tamil Nadu, Pongal, the biggest festival of the state is celebrated on Makar Sankranti
- In West Bengal and the eastern states, Poush Sankranti is celebrated on the same day and Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped
- In many states, people fly colorful kites together with friends and it is a big part of the Makar Sankranti celebrations. People also fly sky lanterns in the evening
- On Makar Sankranti, people both in the countryside and in cities clean their houses, decorate the entrance with flowers and mango leaves and draw beautiful rangolis
- Makar Sankranti delicacies are unique in every state. Sweets made of til or peanuts and jaggery and various kinds of gajaks are very popular. Kheer and khichri of various kinds are also made.