Makar Sankranti or Uttarayana festival as it is famously known as one of the most auspicious festivals celebrated by people in India. It falls on the 14th day in the month of January and is revered in different ways across the country. Let’s learn the significance of the festival and how our nation celebrates:
In Punjab, Sankranti is known as 'Maghi'. People on this day burn lamps with sesame oil to burn away their sins. A major Mela is held at Sri Muktsar Sahib on 'Maghi' where they perform ‘Bhangra’ and eat khichdi with jaggery. This day also signifies the changing of seasons.
In Himachal, people believe that after this season, the sun starts moving to the north. It is also believed that during this time, the migratory birds move back to their original habitat. This day is also known as ‘Magha Saaja’ and on this day, they help the poor and end their day with singing and Naati (folk dance).
The harvest festival of Assam that marks the conclusion of Maagha month is known as ‘Magh Bihu’ or ‘Bhogali Bihu’. On this day, young adults create little huts called ‘meji’ from bamboo, leaves and then burn the huts the next morning. They also play traditional Assamese games such as 'tekeli bhonga' and buffalo fighting.
People in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh make and serve a lot of sweets such as Peeni, Ghevar, Pakodi, and Puwa during Makar Sankranti. Women in this region on the day of Sankranti also make donations to 13 married women. Newly married couples are also invited by friends and relatives for the Sankranti feast.
In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Uttarayani is known as ‘Ghughuti’ and is celebrated with great zeal. On this day, people do good deeds, giving to those in need, before taking a dip in rivers before enjoying the festivities of Ghughutia or Kale Kauva.
In West Bengal, Sankranti is also known as Poush Sankranti that is named after the Bengal month in which it falls. During this period, the people there celebrate the harvest festival 'Poush Parbon'. Bengalis make a lot of sweets during this season freshly harvested paddy and the date palm syrup in the form of 'Khejurer Gur' and 'Patali' that they call ‘Pitha’. People also take a dip in Ganga before sunrise on this day.
Suggi or the harvest festival of the farmers of Karnataka is celebrated by exchanging food offerings and wishing ‘ellu bella thindu olle maathadi’(eat the mixture of sesame seeds and jaggery and speak only good) to their fellow farmers. This process is known as ‘Ellu Birodhu’. Another ritual is the display of cows and bulls in colorful costumes in an open field wherein they’re made to crossfire. This ritual is specifically known as "Kichchu Haayisuvudu".