India known for its traditions, festivals and culture, is indeed a land of diversity. People in the country simply love to celebrate the festivals together with full gaiety and fervour.
Every festival in India, be it Holi, Diwali or Makar Sankranti is celebrated with full enthusiasm and zeal.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated as a harvest festival, where we thank mother nature for providing us the resources for survival. It is a day to show our gratitude to the farmers who play an important role in growing the food we eat.
Makar Sankranti is the biggest festival which is dedicated to Sun in India. The festival is considered sacred as farmers grow their Rabi crops.
As the entire country celebrates Makar Sankranti with fervour, we will have a look at the interesting facts about the harvest festival.
1. Significance of the name
Makar Sankranti denotes the transition of the sun into the zodiacal sign of Capricon (‘Makara’) on its celestial path. This is the first change in the zodiac after the winter solstice. It is also the first day of the month of Magha.
The festival signifies the return of longer days and shorter nights. Temperatures start rising after the festival, leading to hotter days.
2. One festival and different ways of celebration
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in India in different ways. This is the beauty of the festival. The festival may have different names in various parts of the country but the spirit remains the same. People in Gujarat celebrate Makar Sankranti as Uttarayan and fly kites in the day.
The festival is known as Magh Bihu and Pongal in Assam and Tamil Nadu respectively.
3. A day to gorge on Til and Gud
Just like Holi is incomplete without gujiya, Makar Sankranti is also incomplete without til (sesame) and gud (jaggery). One can’t imagine the celebration without the ‘til ka laddoo’, made with jaggery and sesame. Not many know that jaggery is also a good source of iron.
4. Makar Sankranti Mela
Fairs are a must during Makar Sankranti and many melas are organised in several parts of the country. The popular Kumbh Mela, held after every 12 years, starts on the very same day.
The festival is considered very auspicious and people take a dip in the holy river as to wash off all their sins.
5. Also known as Thanksgiving Day
Not many know that Makar Sankranti draws parallel with western festival, Thanksgiving. Both these festivals mark the beginning of a new harvest season. They are celebrated to show our respect towards food and the famers. Indeed, they are a perfect reason to spend some time with family and friends, a thing which we have lost in the hustle and bustle of our busy life.