Makar Sankranti Essay
In India, people celebrate Makar Sankranti to honour the first day when the sun enters Capricorn. People in India also believe that from this day on, the length of the day expands as winter finally ends. One of the major Hindu celebrations is Makar Sankranti, which is one of their most joyful celebrations. The event is observed annually on January 14 or 15, according to the solar calendar. Since the sun is one of the various Deities in Hindu mythology, they honour him by making an early morning sacred bath in the river and praying to it.
In various regions of India, Makar Sankranti is celebrated with various names. In Bengal, people call it PoushParbon, but in Gujarat and some parts of Uttar Pradesh, it is called Uttarayan. In the Bihar region and Jharkhand people celebrate it as Sukarat. It is also known as Maghi in Punjab, Maghi Saaji in the state of Himachal Pradesh, In Jammu, people know it as Maghi Sangrand or Uttarain. In Haryana, people usually call it Sakrat.
Rajasthani People call it Sakraat whereas in various parts of Central India people know it as Sukarat. In Tamil Nadu, people celebrate Pongal on the same day whereas, in Uttarakhand, it is known as Ghughuti, Dahi Chura in Bihar, Makar Sankranti in Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal (also called Poush Sankranti). There is a fun fact that people are also called Khichdi Sankranti. People also called it Shishur Senkrath in Kashmir. Whereas some places like Andhra and Telangana it is simply known as Sankranti. Not only in India but people in other countries, people celebrate it and call it by various names like Maghe Sankranti in Nepal, Songkran in Thailand, Thingyan in Myanmar, and Mohan Songkran in Cambodia. While another Indian festival reflects the phases of the moon in the Hindu calendar, this one reflects the solar cycle.
Meaning of Makar Sankranti
Makar and Sankranti are the roots of the term Makar Sankranti. Makar Sankranti refers to the transition of the sun into Capricorn sign since Makar represents Capricorn and Sankranti signifies transition (Zodiac sign). Hinduism considers this day to be significant and fortunate, and they honour it as a holiday.
The Astral and Religious Significance of Makar Sankranti
The Makar Sankranti festival honours the Sun Lord, according to Hinduism. Considering its astrological importance, it is regarded as an auspicious day. Makar Sankranti, in Indian astrology, is a particular celestial day that signifies the sun's entrance into the Makar or Capricorn horoscope. In India, this day as well signifies the conclusion of the winter season. Following this day, the long winter nights begin to shorten, and the short winter days start to lengthen.
&In terms of the Indian calendars, this day has additional importance because it marks the conclusion of the Poush or Posh month and the start of the subsequent Magha month. The celebration of Makar Sankranti is delayed by an entire day after 80 days to correspond with the earth's uprising about the sun. It has been noted that the sun begins to move toward the north during the date of Makar Sankranti. The Uttarayan movement is another name for it. Because of this, this holiday is also referred to as Uttarayan.
Makar Sankranti is observed during the month of January each year. The Hindu solar deity Surya is the focus of this event. The Ancient writings, especially the Gayatri Chant, a holy song of Hinduism contained in its literature known as the Rigveda, are responsible for the prominence of Surya. If we receive initiates from a Perfect Guru/Saint, worship the Supreme God, and achieve emancipation, this is how God is intended to work, according to our Holy Vedas and the Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta. By engaging in genuine scripture-based worship, one's soul is sanctified, and the World will be transformed into heaven.
Due to the significance of Makar Sankranti for spiritual practices, many people take a holy bath in rivers, particularly the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri. It is thought that taking a bath will gain forgiveness for previous transgressions. Additionally, they praise the sun in their prayers for their achievements and wealth.
Celebrating Makar Sankranti
It's a celebration of brotherhood and wonderful culture. This festival's signature food is a traditional sweet dish prepared with Til and jaggery, which adds energy to the celebration. Pongal is among the primary dishes enjoyed during Makar Sankranti. Lentils, rice, and a healthy amount of ghee are used to make preparations for this dish. This kind of food is a reference for people coming with each other in love and delight despite their individuality and differences. This time frame corresponds to the beginning of the Rabi agricultural and farming cycle for most of India, when seeds have been planted, and the arduous labour on the farms is primarily finished.
Another enjoyable aspect of the festival is kite flying. Thus, the season denotes a time for gathering with friends and family, trying to take care of the cows, and enjoying bonfires. Additionally, throughout the day, the entire family adores flying kites, and during that season, the sky is awash in a variety of brightly coloured and artistically designed kites. This event is observed differently and goes by various names in various regions of the nation. Additionally, every location has a unique custom that they use to commemorate their unique custom. But the festival's overall objective of fostering happiness, cohesion, and wealth throughout the nation-remains the same.
Makar Sankranti Celebration in Different Parts of India
This day is observed as Khichdi, or the festival of giving, in Uttar Pradesh. Additionally, it heralds the start of the quarter, Magh Mela, in Allahabad at the spot where the spiritual rivers Yamuna, Ganga, and Saraswati converge. On this day, in addition to eating and offering Khichdi, many also fast. A Khichdi Fair is indeed organized in Gorakhdham in Gorakhpur.
In Bihar, where people typically consume Dahi and Chura (Flattened Rice), as well as desserts consisting of Sesame Seeds and Sugar/Jaggery, such as Tilkut, Tilwa, and Til ke Ladoo, the day is also celebrated with Khichdi and Dahi Chura. As part of the festivities, gifts of urad, rice, jewelry, clothing, and other commodities are also significant.
Married ladies in Maharashtra enjoy this pleasant day by presenting salt, oil, and cotton to many other married women. Wearing black increases body heat because Sankranti falls during the country's winter. This is a key justification for wearing black during festival days, as it is typically prohibited. According to a different myth, Lord Surya pardoned his son Shani, who paid him a trip on Sankranti. And because of this, people give out candy to everyone and encourage them to get over their bad or furious feelings.
In Maharashtra, the well-known phrase "til gul ghya aani god bola" (taste this sesame and jaggery and say pleasant words) is used when giving sweets. Additionally, newlywed ladies present the goddess with five sunghat, or tiny clay pots, that have black beaded threads wrapped around them. These pots are served with areca nuts, betel leaves, and freshly gathered agricultural goods. In contrast to important regional holidays like Ganesh Chaturthi, its celebration is more restrained.
Sankranti is also referred to as Poush Sankranti in Bengal. People give sesame after having a bath. Every year, a sizable Makar Sankranti fair is held at Gangasagar. With rice flour, coconut, and jaggery, special sweetmeats named "pithe" are made by people. They just produced paddy and Khejurer Gur, a date palm syrup. A three-day celebration that starts the day before Sankranti and finishes the day after is attended by all facets of society. On the occasion of Sankranti, people often worship the goddess Lakshmi.
On this day, Gujarat celebrates the kite festival with high excitement. Most of the kites made for Uttarayan are rhombus-shaped with a central axis and a solitary bow. They are made of extremely lightweight paper and bamboo. People in Gujarat begin to celebrate Uttarayan in December and continue to do so through Makar Sankranti. On this day, special celebration delicacies like undhiyu (a spicy, baked mixture of seasonal veggies) and chikkis (made with til (sesame seeds), nuts, and jaggery) are enjoyed.
Punjab and Haryana
In Punjab, Lohri is observed just a day before this festival. People congregate around a campfire and dance while flinging popcorn and puffs of rice onto the flames. Makar Sankranti is observed as Maghi, a religious and cultural festival, in Punjab. It's crucial to take a river bath in the early morning hours of Maghi. Hindus light candles with essential oils because they believe that doing so will bring wealth and purge all impurities. At Sri Muktsar Sahib, a significant Mela is celebrated on Maghi to honor a significant occasion in Sikh history.
Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
Among the major holidays in the Rajasthan state is "Makar Sankranti," also known as "Sakraat" in Rajasthan. The day is honored with traditional Rajasthani foods and sweets including til-Patti, gajak, kheer, ghevar, pakodi, Puwa, and til-laddoo. Pheeni is a traditional dish with sweetened milk or sugar syrup dip.
In particular, the women in this area follow a tradition of distributing any item, including food, makeup, or household products, to thirteen married women. A married lady's first Sankranti is significant because her siblings and parents welcome her and her spouse to their homes for a lavish meal. For a special festival, people request their friends and family, mainly their siblings and daughters, to their homes.
A major aspect of this celebration is kite flying. On this particular day, children compete in string-cutting contests as thousands of kites fill the skies over Jaipur and Hadoti. To Brahmins or those who are in need, individuals distribute a variety of little presents, including til-gud (jaggery), fruits, dry khichadi, and so on. On this particular day, children compete in string-cutting contests as thousands of kites fill the skies over Jaipur and Hadoti.
In Odisha, the celebration is called Makara Sankranti, and it involves making Makara chaula, which includes unprocessed newly produced rice, bananas, coconuts, Jamon, sesame, rasagola, Khai/Lia, and chhena desserts for naivedya to deities. A shift in dietary habits and an increase in nutritious and filling foods are required during the withdrawal of winter. As a result, this celebration has historical and cultural value. Because as the sun begins its yearly trip northward, it is essential for worshippers who fervently and enthusiastically honor the sun at the ancient Konark Sun temple.
The Sun-God is revered on this day as a major benefactor because, according to several Indian calendars, the Sun's path shifts, and the days grow longer and hotter beginning on this day. Many people who are fasting take a ritual wash in the morning. At Dhabaleswar in Cuttack, Hatakeshwar at Atri in Khordha, the Makara Muni Temple in Balasore, and close to gods in each region of Odisha, the Makara Mela (Fun Fair) is held. The God Jagannath shrine in Puri is the site of unique ceremonies.
This is the Kannada farmers' Suggi or winter festival. Girls dress up in new clothing on this fortunate day to visit loved ones, bring a gift of Sankranti on a plate, and trade it with various families. The name of this ceremony is "Ellu Birodhu." In this meal, "Ellu '' (white sesame beans) would often be blended with cooked groundnuts, cleanly cut dried coconut, and finely cut Bella (jaggery). The concoction is known as "Ellu-Bella." A slice of sugarcane and formed gummy candy molds are on the plate. The phrase "ellu Bella thindu Olle Maathai," which means " if you consume the combination of sesame seeds and jaggery, you talk just pleasant," is used in Kannada.
Because sugarcane is so common in this region, this event denotes the season's crop. In Karnataka, ladies frequently trade Ellu Bella, Ellu Unde, bananas, sugarcane, red berries, haldi, kumkum, and small gift boxes. On this day, newlyweds offer married women free bananas for 5 years starting from the initial year of their union. Several of the essential components of the event include kite flying, creating rangolis, and distributing red berries referred to as Yalchi kai.
Haryana and Delhi
The Hindu holiday "Sakraant'' is observed in rural portions of Haryana and Delhi in a manner reminiscent of Western UP and the Rajasthan and Punjab borderlands. This entails performing ritual purification by bathing in rivers, particularly the Yamuna, or at holy ponds like the ancient sarovars in Kurukshetra, as well as at neighborhood tirtha ponds connected to the ancestor guardian/village founder deity known as Jathera or Dhok (dahak in Sanskrit or burn) in cities and towns to wipe away wrongdoings or evils. With desi ghee, they make til-gud (sesame and jaggery) laddoos or chikkis and distribute them. The brother of a married woman visits her and brings her a "Sindhara'' or "Sidha'' gift package, which includes wood and extra clothing for both her family and the family of her spouse. Women offer their in-laws a gift known as a "Manana." In the surrounding Havelis, women gather to sing traditional Haryani songs and give presents.
Makar Sankranti is known as "Uttrain" in Jammu (given from the Sanskrit language: Uttarayana). In addition, this festival has also been referred to as Attain or Attrani. Dogras celebrate Lohri a day before to mark the end of the Poh (Pausha) month. It is also the first day of the Hindu Solar Calendar's Magha month, therefore the name "Maghi Sangrand"
There is a custom known as "Mansana" (donation) of Khichdi of Maah Lentils between Dogras. This day is additionally known as "Khichdi wala Parva" since Maah di Dal Khichdi is also served on it. Khichdi and other food items are also customarily delivered to married daughters' homes. On this day, fairs are held at pilgrimage sites and sacred locations. On Makar Sankranti and Janamashtami, Dhagwal in the Hiranagar tehsil is famous for its fair.
On this day, Jammu residents also visit pilgrimages such as Uttar Behni and Purmandal and take spiritual dips in the Devika River. Baba Ambo Ji, a native divinity of Jammu and Kashmir, was born on this day, and his birthday celebration is also observed.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Andhra Pradesh & Telangana each observe four days of the Sankranti celebration. Hindu women in Andhra Pradesh paint the front of their homes with intricate shapes made from colored rice flour, or "muggu."
The opening day of the four different day events is called Bhogi. It is observed by building a bonfire out of wood logs, similar solid fuels, and outdated wooden household furniture. In the evening, at a ritual known as Bhogi Pallu, harvest-time produce, including regi pallu and sugarcane, is gathered together with seasonal blossoms. Money is usually spilt over kids after being mixed into a combination of sweets. Then the kids go get the cash and tasty fruit.
The second and most important day in the four-day celebration is devoted to Surya, a Hindu divinity. Whenever the sun moves into the zodiac's Makara the Uttarayana officially begins that day. In the region of Andhra Pradesh, it is referred to as the Pedda Panduga ( which is a vast celebration). The god is served to Arislu, a dessert delicacy.
It is devoted to cows as well as other domesticated pets on the 3rd day of the 4-day celebration. The animals, mainly the cows, are dressed, given bananas, a special dinner, and revered. In particular, in the Southern Andhra area of Andhra Pradesh, the popular community sports Kodi Pandem will start playing today and continue for the following one to two days. On the fourth and final day of the four-day celebration, several family reunions and get together take place.
Similar to the majority of the nation, individuals share sweets in the shape of sugar-coated pulse granules with family and friends on Sankrant. This holiday is celebrated in Goa. Five sunghat, or little clay pots having black beading threads strung around them, are offered to the deity by newlywed ladies. These pots are presented with betel leaves, areca nuts, and freshly gathered small grains. In contrast to important regional holidays like Ganesh Chaturthi, its celebration is more muted.
Between the end of the Tamil month Margazhi and the 3rd day in the Tamil month Thai, four days are dedicated to the event. Bhogi is the start of the celebration. On the final day of Margazhi, it is observed by burning old clothing and materials in a ceremony that symbolises the destruction of the old and the birth of the new. Thai Pongal, or just Pongal, is observed on the second day of the festival. It is observed by boiling rice with organic milk and jaggery in brand-new pots, topping them with brown sugar, cashew nuts, and raisins, and letting it boil over the pot. Pongal gets its name from this custom.
Maattu Pongal is the 3rd day of the celebration. Cattle are being thanked because they assist farmers in their agricultural endeavors. On this particular day, bells, flowers, and colors are used to beautify the cattle. They are given sugar cane as well as sweet rice, while also being free to wander. Some people coat the horns in golden or other metals to adorn them. Kaanum Pongal, which means "to see," is celebrated on the 4th day of the festival. People are visiting their friends and family on this day to celebrate the holiday season. It is a day to express gratitude to loved ones and friends for helping with the harvesting. It began as a farmers' festival known in Tamil as Uzhavar Thirunaal. During the Thai Pongal celebration, Kolam displays are built in front of the house.
The celebration of Makar Sankranti is one of joy, enjoyment, and mingling with others. The Maharashtrian proverb "til gud ghya, god god bola" reflects the true meaning of Makar Sankranti, which is to treat others with respect and speak sweetly to them, and live in peace, much like til and jaggery combine to create a delicious treat. Additionally, it is significant from both a scientific and a scriptural perspective. It is a festival of love, trust, and care and has its own importance in every way.