Makar Sankranti is one of the most significant harvest festivals of India that is celebrated with diverse names and rituals in various parts of the country. It is the popular Indian festival that falls in the first month of the year and is symbolic of hope and positivity. Fundamentally, it is a festival that marks the new season of crop harvesting. It also marks the beginning of Magh month (a month in Hindu Calendar) and new year.
It is the most celebrated festival of India when people pay homage to Sun God in order to seek his blessings for a bumper harvest, good fortune, health, and wealth. According to Indian mythology, Sun God is believed to be the powerhouse of energy on earth which enables life and food. Seeking his divinity is considered auspicious on this day as Sun transits to Makar which is Capricorn according to zodiac signs.
Makar Sankranti is an auspicious day when the sun enters the zodiac sign Capricorn (makar) which connotes the end of winter and the beginning of warmer months and longer days. This auspicious festival also marks the onset of spring season which symbolises new blossoms and harvest. It is also known as Uttarayan as from this day onwards the sun begins its journey to the north which is known as Uttarayan journey.
The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14th January every year due to the set timing of the solar cycle. The date remains the same except in leap years when it is observed on 15th January.
This famous harvest festival of India is prominently celebrated in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. Besides Uttar Pradesh, the festival is celebrated with the same name in the Indian states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Bihar as well as in the capital city, Delhi. It is also observed as Uttarayan in Gujarat, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Magh Bihu in Assam and Lohri in Punjab.
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Legends have it that even the ancient people used to celebrate Makar Sankranti but the purpose was to worship the Sun God so that he would save them from harsh cold weather. Another popular folklore states that on this day King Bhagirathi brought river Ganga on Earth.
The time period of Uttarayan that begins with Makar Sankranti also finds its mention in the epic Mahabharata as Bhishma waited for Uttarayan to leave his mortal body. It is believed that people who die during this period escape the cycle of birth and death.
Makar Sankranti is the first festival of the year that is celebrated in different names and rituals in almost every state in India. It is indeed a perfect example of unity in diversity which is also the major attraction of the festival. Check out the other attractions listed below!
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1. Food. Being a popular festival in India, the iconic dishes associated with it are also a prime attraction. People in North India prepare regional dishes such as Churma of ghee, Til Patti, Gajak, Revri, Til Ladoo, Gud (jaggery), and Khichdi on this auspicious day.
2. Kite Flying. One of the most exciting and vibrant highlights of Makar Sankranti is kite flying that is predominantly observed in cities of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. People decorate their kites or opt for different sizes and colours of kites especially for the festival. In Gujarat, the International Kite Flying festival is a major attraction for the visitors across the globe.
3. Khichdi, Pulses, and Sesame Seeds Donation. People in the northern region of India prepare prashad made from ingredients such as pulses, jaggery and sesame seeds. They donate and also eat this prasad after offering it to the Sun God.
4. Holy Dip in Magh Mela at Triveni Sangam. People often head towards Triveni Sangam near Prayagraj during Makar Sankranti festival. Taking a holy bath in the sacred waters of Triveni Sangam that is the confluence point of 3 rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati is considered auspicious on this day.
A holy dip on Makar Sankranti brings good luck in abundance and also washes off one’s sins. Read More
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in various indigenous ways in India, however, there are few places where celebration is grand and totally worth witnessing. Take a look at some of the best places in India where you can grab a kaleidoscopic view of this festival. Also find the details on how to reach all these places in India conveniently.
In Uttar Pradesh, the festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great fervour. Triveni Sangam near Prayagraj which was earlier known as Allahabad is a perfect pick as the festivities here are unique and vibrant. Every year, Magh Mela is hosted here when thousands of people visit the ghats of river Ganges to take a holy dip on this auspicious day.
How To Reach Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh
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In Delhi and Haryana people prepare kheer, bajre ki khichdi and halwa. On this special day, brothers visit their sister’s home and give warm clothes to her family.
How To Reach Delhi and Haryana
In Punjab, Makar Sankranti is observed as Lohri and celebrated a day before. During this festival, people light a bonfire and dance around it. They also offer revri, gajak, gur and popcorn to God of Fire to seek his blessings and ward off negativity from their life.
How To Reach Amristar, Punjab
In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great fervour. The International Kite festival is organised on this occasion which is one of the top attractions of the state.
How To Reach Ahmedabad, Gujarat
In the West Bengal region, a massive Gangasagar Fair is organised every year when thousands of pilgrims visit here to take a sacred bath in the river. It is considered as the second largest human congregation in the world after Kumbh Mela. Also, the tradition of donating til after taking bath is considered auspicious on Makar Sankranti.
How To Reach Kolkata, West Bengal
In Tamil Nadu, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Pongal and the festivity extends upto four days. The festival holds immense religious and spiritual significance in the region and various rituals are followed which are unique to discover.
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How To Reach Chennai, Tamil Nadu
People of Rajasthan make sweets such as gajak til-patti, puwa, and peeni to mark the celebration. Also, kite flying is a prominent feature on this day in this part of the country.
How To Reach Jaipur, Rajasthan
In Assam, it is known as Magh Bihu, where people prepare rice cakes, til pitha and laru which are some of the popular traditional dishes made for the feast.
How to Reach Guwahati, Assam
In Maharashtra ladies prepare puran poli, multi-coloured sugar syrup coated halwa, and til-gul laddoo for Sankranti.
Q 1. Which colour should you wear on Makar Sankranti 2023?
A 1. People usually wear black colour clothes on this day as Makar Sankranti falls on the coldest day of the year.
Q 2. Is Makar Sankranti always on 14 January?
A 2. Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14th January every year as it maintains the solar cycle. However, in leap years, it is observed on 15th January.
Q 3. Why do we celebrate Makar Sankranti on 15th January?
A 3. We celebrate Makar Sankranti on 15th January only during leap years.
Q 4. Which god is worshipped on Makar Sankranti?
A 4. The Sun god is majorly worshipped by all on Makar Sankranti, however, some people also worship Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi on this auspicious day of the year.
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