Makar Sankranti is one of the auspicious Hindu festivals that is most widely observed in the nation. People across all the states in India have started preparations for festivities to mark their respect for the earth's bounty and celebrate the end of winter.
India is a land of immense devotion and festivities, where we have a plethora of cultures and traditions. When it comes to the Hindu culture, Makar Sankranti is one significant festival dedicated to Lord Surya or the Sun God.
Makar Sankranti heralds the end of winter and the start of longer days as the sun moves northward. And this period is known as Uttarayan and is considered to be very auspicious.
Makar Sankranti 2023: Date and timings
Makar Sankranti is celebrated a day after Lohri, and it falls on Sunday, January 15, 2023, this year. The Sankranti tithi will be at 8:57 am. on January 14, according to Drik Panchang. Meanwhile, the Makar Sankranti Punya Kala will run from 7:15 am. to 5:46 pm., while the Makar Sankranti Maha Punya Kala will start at 7:15 am. and end at 9:00 pm.
Makar Sankranti 2023: History and Significance
The harvest festival is both a religious and seasonal celebration dedicated to Surya, whom the Hindu community considers to be the Sun God. Makar Sankranti commemorates the sun`s transit into Makara (Capricorn) raashi (zodiac sign), and the festival is widely observed in the Indian Subcontinent as well as by Hindus worldwide. Makar Sankranti is celebrated differently in different parts of India.
So let`s have a look:
In Punjab, Delhi, and Haryana celebrated Makar Sankranti, on this auspicious day, all brothers visit their married sisters and bring them warm clothes and sweets. Married women show their affection and respect for their in-laws by giving them shawls, sweets, clothes, and other items. Families congregate in one location to celebrate the festival.
Makar Sankranti is known as the Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu. This festival is held for four days in a row, with each day having a different meaning. People clean and declutter their homes, as well as decorate them, on the first day. Aside from that, they wear new, colourful clothes while discarding the old ones.
This festival is known as Uttarayan in Gujarat, and the state is well-known for its International Kite Flying Festival. After finishing their morning prayers, people gather on their terraces with colourful kites. The festival has begun! During the kite flying festival, you can hear people shouting "Kai Po Che" to the losing team. Aside from that, people eat delicacies like Chikki, which is made of sesame seeds and peanuts, and Undhiyu, which is made of winter vegetables.
In Assam, it is celebrated as Bihu and marks the start of the Assamese New Year. People dress in traditional attire such as dhoti, gamosa, and saadar mekhela on this day. They also sing traditional folk songs and dance to celebrate.
In Uttarakhand, Makar Sankranti is known as Gughuti, or the festival of welcoming migratory birds. People feed Khichdi and other food items as a charity and organise donation camps.In addition, flour and jaggery are used to make sweets, which are then deep-fried in various shapes. Children then offer these sweets to the crows. In addition, the crows are fed Puri, Vade, and Puwe. Locals believe that the child who is the first to feed a crow is the luckiest.
Magha Saaji is celebrated as Makar Sankranti in Himachal Pradesh. Sankranti is known as Saaji in India, and Magha is the name of the month. On this day, people bathe in the holy rivers of the area and visit temples to seek the Lord`s blessings.
Apart from that, they pay visits to their friends and family and present them with sweets such as chikki, khichdi, and ghee. It is a day when many people donate to charities and make donations.
The locals celebrate in the evening by singing folk songs and dancing. Also known to strengthen the bond of friendship, this festival is all about making khichdi, kite flying, sesame sweets, and coconut laddoos. Makar Sankranti marks a message, that the winter season is now clearly, leaving. Happy Makar Sankranti!
(With inputs from ANI)