__START__One of the few Indian festivals that falls on the same day every year according to the Gregorian calender.
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 which falls on the same day every year as it follows the solar calender. However, once every eighty years, due to revolution, the day is postponed by one day. Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of January every year (sometimes on the 15th) for now. From 2050, it is predicted that the festival will fall on the 15th January (and occasionally on the 16th).
__LISTSEPARATOR____START__Why is it called Makar Sankranti?
On Makar Sankranti, 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 literally means the movement of the sun into Capricorn.
__LISTSEPARATOR____START__Day and night are equally long.
As Makar Sankranti is one of the oldest solstice festivals and falls on the equinox, day and night on this day are believed to be equally long. Post the festival, it is officially the beginning of spring or the onset of Indian summer and the days become longer, and nights shorter.
__LISTSEPARATOR____START__Same festival, a million different names.
Though extremely popular as Makar Sankranti, the festival is predominantly a harvest festival and is celebrated throughout India, from north to south and east to west. 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, Maghi, Khichdi are some other names of the same festival.
__LISTSEPARATOR____START__Why do we consume til-gul?
Makar Sankranti is the festival of til-gul where sesame and jaggery laddoos or chikkis are distributed among all. They are generally accompanied by the saying, "Til-gul ghya ani gud gud bola", which translates to 'eat these sesame seeds and jaggery and speak sweet words'. The festival is one of bonding where every member of society is asked to bury the hatchet with enemies and foes and live in peace. Also, it is a superstition that during the festival, the Sun God forgets his anger on his son Shani and visits him. Thus, by distributing sweets, everyone is asked to spread joy around. Also, since the festival falls in winter, eating of sesame and jaggery is considered beneficial to health as they are warm foods. Thus, it is specifically this sweet that's distributed as it signifies bonding and good health.
__LISTSEPARATOR____START__Why do we fly kites on Makar Sankranti?
There is a very interesting reason behind the kite-flying. Kite-flying in olden days was generally done in the early hours of the morning, when the sun's rays were bright but not too harsh. Also, during kite-flying, the human body was exposed to the sun for long hours. The early morning sun is considered beneficial for the skin and body. Since winter is also the time of a lot of infections and sickness, by basking in the sun, Hindus believed that the bad bacteria on their bodies would be cleared to a certain extent. Creating a fun way of sun basking where no one would even realise they were reaping benefits was through kite flying. Cool, right?
Hindu Human Rights
Makar Sankranti generally marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh while in South India, in Kerala, one of the most austere and difficult pilgrimages of Shabrimala ends on this auspicious day. Other parts of the country too, celebrate by taking a dip in the holy rivers flowing through states to cleanse themselves of sins. It is also believed that if you die during Makar Sankranti, you are not reborn but go directly to heaven.
Makar Sankranti: Makar Sankranti festival on, 14th of January. Unlike most of the other Indian Hindu Festivals, the date of Makar Sankranti is fixed. Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti is transition. There is a sankranti every month when the sun passes from one sign of the zodiac to the next. The popular Indian festival “Makar Sankranti” is the first Indian festival falls in New Year.
It is one of the major Indian harvest festival celebrated on 14th of January of every year. It’s an important festival of the Hindus and celebrated almost everywhere in the country in myriad cultural forms and different names. Every region celebrate it in innumerable ways, according to the localization, culture and traditions.
Festival of Kites
Makar Sankranti is also known as Uttarayan or Festival of Kites in Gujarat and Rajasthan. This is a full kite-flying day, colorful kites in the sky convert Sankranti into the beautiful colors of kites. The International Kite festival is held at Ahmedabad on January 14 of every year. Kite festival is one of the most popular festivals of Jaipur “The Pink City” Rajasthan.
Fairs & Festival
During the Makar Sankranti festival, so many mela or fairs held’s in different region’s of India. A biggest fair held at Ganga Sagar in west Bengal, where the most scared river “Ganga” enters the sea, thousands of pilgrims and Sadhu the holy men come here for the holy bath on the day of Makar Sankranti. The bullock festival, cattle fair held on Makar Sankranti at different places, where many camels, bullocks and horses are sold and purchased by animal lover people. One of the famous and unique fair is held at Rajgir, Bihar.
The famous Makar Sankranti festival is related to harvesting the food grains. Its called Lohri in Punjab, In south India it’s known as Pongal “The National festival of India”, in Karnataka it’s called Sankranti and in Kerala it’s called Makara Vilakku. In Bengal, Makar Sankranti is celebrated at the last day of the Bengali month of Poush.
This festival goes on for ten days, feasting, boat races, songs and dance are the major parts of attraction of this important Indian festival. It is celebrated with the til (sesame seeds) ke laddoo, gajak, Ellu Bella and sarson ka saag-makka ki roti.