Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India with different names. It is the harvest festival and the end of Winter.
Just like yesterday, today is another Indian festival called Makar Sankranti. Firstly, the festival is known with different names in different parts of India. In Andra Pradesh it is Sankranti or Pedda Pandaga, in Tamil Nadu, it is Thai Pongal, in Assam, it is Magh Bihu and in West Bengal, it is Poush Shongkranti. Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14th or 15th January every year.
History and Significance
The festival is celebrated in different ways in various parts of the country. Just like Lohri, this day marks the end of Winter and celebrates the arrival of Spring. It is also the beginning of the new harvest season. Makar Sankranti is the first day of the Sun’s transition into the sun sign Capricorn or Makara. According to legends, Sankranti was a deity who killed a demon called Sankarasur. Hence, the name of this day is Makar Sankranti.
This festival is also known as Uttarayan, depicting the northwards journey of the Sun. Uttarayan is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Gujrat. Pongal is also a harvest festival celebrated by the Tamilians. It is also a day to thank Lord Muruga for the fulfilment of all the wishes of the past year.
The celebrations vary from state-to-state. Makar Sankranti and Uttarayan are also known as the festival of kites. The Maharashtrians and Gujaratis celebrate this day by flying kites and it is celebrated with great zeal. Maharashtrians make laddus out of til or sesame. Many people in Maharashtra also wear black on this in spite of it being an inauspicious colour. As black as absorbs the heat of the Sun and stay protected from the cold to celebrate this day comfortably. Tamilians make Pongal which is made out of newly harvested rice, milk, jaggery, and dry fruits.