How Makara Sankranti is celebrated in India

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The first Hindu Festival in the first month of English calendar is Makara Sankranti. The transit of the Sun into Capricorn signifies this festival. The Sun will move towards North from this time. This is called the Uttarayan where in all the Gods are supposed to wake up from a 6 month long slumber.

  • In Assam this Festival is celebrated as “Bhogali bhihu” or Maagh Bihu”
  • In Bihar til laddus (sesame laddus) are distributed and it is called “Til Sanskrithi”
  • In Gujarath festival is conducted for two days and kite flying is a speciality.
  • In Madhya Pradesh this is called “Sakarath’ or “Sukarath” and til sweets are a speciality.
  • In Maharashtra til sweets are exchanged.
  • In Tamil Nadu “Pongal” is celebrated for 4 days.
  • In Kerala this festival has more significance as Ayyappa devoties throng the Shabarimalai Temple for the sight of Makara Jyothi.

Makara Sankranti is a farmer’s festival celebrated on the occasion of the harvest coming home. It is a four day festival. The first day being Bhogi, second Sankranti, the third being Kanuma and the last Mukkanuma.

The festivity starts one month before Sankranti which is generally on 14th January of every year. In some areas,' dolls Kolu' is arranged in the houses, ladies visit each others houses and distribute paan and fruits.The bulls are decorated with colored clothing and bells and two men, make the bull dance to the tune of their Nadaswaram and Dhol. The house fronts are decorated with special Rangavallis. The Haridas with a pumpkin shaped vessel on his head visits houses singing songs of worship accompanied by Tanpura. People donate rice to the Haridas.

Steps

1

On Bhogi day there will be bon fire in the centre of the village or at cross roads and all the unwanted wood is flung into it. Ladies and girls decorate their houses with colored Rangavalli ( rangoli/kolam) and some girls make balls of cow dung called gobbemmas,decorated with pumpkin flowers and petals of banthi (marigold/gende ka phool) and arrange in the rangavalli (cow dung is supposed to keep all pests and insects away).

 

The big  gobbi in the centre is supposed to be Lord Krishna and the small ones around to be Gopis. Sweet Pongal comprising of rice, jaggery and ghee is prepared. In the eveing unwed girls wear   new clothes and  sing songs going around the Gobbis and dance. Ladies gather in the evening and put a mixture of Indian berry, marigold petals, sugar cane pieces and soaked chana on the heads of badies to seek blessings of Sun God and to keep them safe from evil eyes. Young and old alike fly colorful kites the whole day. Even competitions are conducted. Though banned cock fights are conducted in villages and bets are placed on different cocks.

2

On Sankranti day savory pongal comprising of rice, mung dal, pepper etc is prepared and a part of it is sprinkled in the fields as offering to Mother Earth for giving us food. The birds also are fed. In Karnataka the mixture of Indian berry,marigold and sugar cane is put on the babies head on Sankranti day.

 

A mixture of fried sesame seeds (til), ground nuts s, putna dal (bhuna chana) and jaggery is distributed among near and dear to talk sweetly to every one forgetting all grouses. Some people offer pumpkins to Brahmins as they believe that  by doing so they receive the blessings of their dear departed. Sweets meats made of rice, jaggery, sesame (gingili),bajra are special for Sankranti.

3

Kanumu is the day for cattles. Cows are decorated vermillon and turmeric and Aarthi is conducted as cow is revered as Mother.
Bulls are also decorated with paints and colored clothes and race is conducted. Sometimes even bullock card races are conducted. Urd preparations are specialty of the day.

4

Mukkanumu is day when people go out to meet their near and dear or spend the day for outing.

The villages are rife with  jubilation as the produce has just come home, and the weather is very pleasant.

Tips

  • Til ( sesame/gingily) contains Vitamin E and is good for the skin. It also gives warmth to the body in this season. That is why sasame oil is applied to the body before a head bath.
  • Mun dal, jaggery, pumpkin are the fresh produce of the season and are good for health during this season.
  • with the Bhogi bon fire, the house is cleared of all unwanted stuff.

Comments

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Happy Sankranthi to every one!!!

These type of festivals are well celebrated in the villages. Don't miss to enjoy these moments. May this Sankranthi brings everything YOU want. WISH YOU HAPPY SANKRANTHI.