Makar Sankranti is a Hindu festival celebrated in India. It marks the movement of Sun into the zodiac sign Makar, also known as Capricorn. In North India it is celebrated as Lohri; in South India, it is celebrated as Pongal; in Assam, it is celebrated as Bihu. It is celebrated to mark the commencement of Summer, and Uttarayan, a six months’ period, equivalent to Summer Solstice. Read on to know more about this sacred festival, and the legends and the myths surrounding it.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in the honour of the Sun, or Surya, one of the leading gods in the Hindu pantheon. It is also celebrated as a harvest festival. It will be celebrated as Pongal from January 14 to January 17, 2020. January 15 will be the main date for the festival, and the timing from 7 am to 9 am is considered extremely auspicious.
According to the myths, it is believed that the advent of the festival will take away all the trouble from one’s household. It is an auspicious time for marriages. According to a legend, Lord Shiva asks Nandi, his consort, who can switch from being a bull to being a human, to go to earth and asks the humans to take an oil massage, and a cleansing bath after it on a daily basis, and have meal only once a month.
Instead, Nandi gets high and conveys the wrong message. Angered by this, Shiva curses Nandi to live on earth and plough the fields for humans to grow food. This has led to the belief relating to cattle worship on this day.
Makar Sankranti has various names and is celebrated in various ways across the country. It is one of the most important Hindu festivals. Tilgul ladoos, which are made from sesame seeds and jaggery, and peanuts, are served during the Sankranti days, as they are highly nutritious.