Most Hindu festivals follow the position of the moon and are based on the lunar calendar. Thus, the dates of festivals change every year. But Makar Sankranti is a festival that falls on the same day every year as it follows the solar calendar. However, once every seventy-two years, due to revolution, the day is postponed by one day.
Significance of Makar Sankranti
On this day, the Sun enters the sun-sign of Capricorn or Makara (the Indian Rashi). Therefore the ‘Makar’ in the name. The word ‘Sankranti’ signifies the movement of the sun from one zodiac sign to another. Thus, the name of the festival means the movement of the sun into Capricorn.
The festival marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the spring season. On this auspicious day, the Sun God is worshipped with Lord Vishnu and Goddess Mahalaxmi across the country. This festival marks the end of the long, cold, winter months and the onset of spring.
Different names of Makar Sankranti
It is the major Indian festival of the year, celebrated all over India, by different names in different regions and following different rituals but with the same enthusiasm. While Makar Sankranti is most popular in West India, down south, the festival is known as Pongal and in the north, it is celebrated as Lohri. Uttarayan in Gujrat, Maghi in Assam, Khichdi in Uttar Pradesh are some other names of the same festival.
Why You Should Experience Makar Sankranti in India
Like every festival celebration, mouth-watering traditional sweets are prepared. Each state has its special dishes, but one dish is common that is, Til Gur Laddu. According to Ayurveda, eating sesame seeds(Til) is beneficial for our health. Sesame is the harvest of the season and is eaten a lot during this time.
Did you know that one of the important foods that the festival is celebrated with is the simple, humble khichdi? The alternative name of the festival ‘Khichdi’ originates from the state of Uttar Pradesh. The staple khichdi made up of rice and lentils is actually supposed to be the favourite food of the Hindu god Gorakhnath.
In the morning after taking bath, we wear new clothes and my family offers the Lord – til laddu , rice, lentils, and Haldi and seek blessings for a prosperous harvest year ahead. We also donate items to the poor and underprivileged on this auspicious day. In Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, it is mainly the festival of ‘donation’.
On this day in the morning, colourful kites can be seen up in the sky. According to Ayurveda, when the sun moves in uttarayana, its rays have medical effects on the body. So, after the long chilling months, when people come out in the open to fly kits, they receive the benefits of sun exposer.
How to Celebrate Makar Sankranti as a Traveler
Every traveler should take part in the kite festival to mark the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Many people will gather in an open field to fly kites of various designs and colors. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet locals and make new friends.
This year as we are going out, we will make our own kite and head up to the terrace to fly it. Flying kites are also synonymous with soaring high and achieving new heights. Many believe flying kites high-up into the sky as a form of Thanksgiving to God. I personally do not know how to fly a kite, but I enjoy watching my kids, playing with the wind, flying kites, either way, you’re sure to have fun!
Travelers should also make sure to try the delicious traditional food that is served during this festival. Traditional dishes can be found in a variety of restaurants, markets, and street food vendors across the country.
Books on kites for kids:
When a new bride becomes part of the family or a baby is born, they cherish and try to make this festival unforgettable, with pomp & show. Relatives, elders, and friends bless the mother and the child and wish for their good health. To make your Baby festival special you can also customize baby rompers & Oneis from here.
The festival of Makar Sankranti is said to bring happiness, joy, and prosperity, especially among the farmer’s community. This year, share the significance of the festival with your kids so they can enjoy it even more fervor as well as gain insights into the rich cultural history of our country.
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Hey!! all out there, wish you a Very Happy Makar Sankranti. The festival of kites is here with some magic of traditional Til Gud Chikkis cooking in the kitchen.