Agriculture has been a deep-rooted part of the Indian society. The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated across the country in different ways, with people welcoming the new season of harvest in their own cultural way. On this day, many pray to the deity of knowledge and wisdom (Goddess Saraswati) for clarity of mind. This festival highlights the importance of pulling back from unethical and unhealthy behaviours, while practising for peaceful and positive ones instead.
Significance of the Festival
‘Makar’ refers to the zodiac, Capricorn and Sankranti’ means transition. Also called Makar in Sanskrit, this festival celebrates the Sun's shift into Capricorn. According to Astrology, the planet, Saturn, rules the zodiac sign Capricorn. And this planet is believed to be Surya Dev’s (Lord Sun’s) son. In short, this means that during this time, the Sun comes to stay with His Son. This period also signifies letting go of any grudges and quarrels, leaving behind any old bitterness and resentment to allow one to let in the beauty and love that the world has to offer! With the energy and encouragement from the Sun, establish more meaningful relationships with the people you love, let go of the silly arguments and fights and focus on the happy times. Celebrate this festival by spreading positive vibes to your loved ones.
This festival especially stands apart from other Hindu festival as the date for celebrating Makar Sankranti is fixed, i.e. it is celebrated on the 14th of January every year. This is the same time around which the Sun starts making a transition towards the North. The festival also marks the point from which the cold, short, wintery days give way to longer and warmer months. The limited sunlight during the winter season hinders good harvest of crops, and this is why with the Sun moving towards the North, the entire country rejoices with the prospect of a better harvest!
Different parts of the country celebrate the festival in myriad cultural forms. Every region has different names, and different ways of celebrating; basing the rituals and customs according to their localisation, culture and traditions.
Makar Sankranti festival is known as Magh Bihu in Assam, Uttarayan in Gujarat, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, and Lohri in Punjab.
Like any other festival, there are varied customs and traditional rituals followed to celebrate the grand festival of Makar Sankranti. Some of the festivities include preparing special food dishes and sweets, like Kalagaya Kura, coloured Halwas and, the most popular sweet, Til Ke Ladoos.
Kite flying is an integral part of Uttarayan, which is regarded as one of the biggest festivals in the state of Gujarat, so much so that the locals also popularly know this festival as The International Kite Festival.
In the religious states, Makar Sankranti, is the first of the big and holy bathing days of Hindus. People go in huge crowds to visit sacred places for a bath in the holy waters. Commonly, people travel to Allahabad and Varanasi, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik. The Gangasagar or Sagar Island, situated at the confluence of the river Ganges and Bay of Bengal, is a famous Hindu pilgrim place, which is visited during this festival.
Big and small Melas (or fairs) are held all around the country on this day. Some of the famous ones are, the Kumbh Mela, the Gangasagar Mela and Makara Mela in Odisha.Consult our expert astrologers online to learn more about the festival and their rituals.