India is a land of varied cultures and traditions. The whole country has different festivals that are celebrated in different parts of the nation. One such festival is Makar Sankranti. It is a harvest festival that is celebrated on January 15 every year.
This festival is celebrated in different parts of India with different traditions and names. According to the Hindu calendar, this festival is celebrated on a specific day that is referred to as a solar day in the Hindu calendar. The festival is all about worshipping the sun and the legend of Hindu mythology related to Sankranti.
Sankranti was a goddess according to Hindu mythology. As per the legend, Sankranti killed a devil named Sankarasur. The day next to Makar Sankrant is called Karidin or Kinkrant.
On this day, the Devi slayed the devil Kinkarasur. The information of Makar Sankranti is available in Panchang. The Panchang is the Hindu Almanac that provides information on the age, form, clothing, direction, and movement of Sankranti.
Importance of Makar Sankranti
On the day of Makar Sankranti, the sun starts its Northward movement. This is also known as the Uttrayan journey, and therefore the festival is known Uttrayan in the state of Gujarat.
- On the day of Makar Sankranti, a holy bath in one of the holy rivers is a very old tradition. This holy bath happens at different sacred holy rivers like in Varanasi, Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik, and Allahabad.
- Sun is worshipped with a haldi-kumkum ceremony and a sacred puja is held in the morning for the same.
- Til or sesame seeds laddoo is one of the traditional eateries on Makar Sankranti.
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Kite flying is one of the sports that is practiced on this day. It is one of the biggest festival sports in Gujarat on the day of Uttrayan. In other parts of the nation, there are various sports and dances that are held to commemorate the festival.
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In different regions of India, Makar Sankranti is celebrated with different names
- Lohri is celebrated in Haryana and Punjab. At night, people gather around the bonfire and throw til, puffed rice and corns into the flames of the bonfire. Prayers are offered to the bonfire seeking abundance and prosperity.
- In Bihar, the Makar Sankranti festival is known as Khichdi. On this day, donating urad, rice, gold, woollen clothes, blankets, etc. have their own importance.
- In Maharashtra, all married women donate cotton, oil, and salt to other married women on their first Sankrant.
- In Bengal, there is a tradition of donating til after taking bath in Makar Sankrant. A huge fair is also organised every year in Gangasagar.
- On the occasion of Makar Sankranti in Tamil Nadu, this festival is celebrated as Pongal for four days.
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