Celebrating Makar Sankranti

 

 

What is Makar Sankranti?

Makar Sankranti is the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn) on its celestial path. As per our Indian culture, this event leads to the beginning of an auspicious phase marking the arrival of spring.

Makar Sankranti is also called Uttarayan, as the sun begins its northward journey from this day. Hindus revere the sun god as a symbol of divinity and wisdom. The days become longer and warmer compared to the nights, after this transition.

 

Harvest Festival

 

 

Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival. Sesame is the main harvest of the season and is eaten fondly during this time. It represents a period of abundance, peace, affluence and happiness.

The farm animals play a huge role in harvesting, so the following day is for them and is called Mattu Pongal. The first day is for the earth, the second is for us and the third is for the animals and livestock. It is believed that if we were not here, they would all be free and happy; but if they were not here, we couldn’t live.

 

Social Significance of Makar Sankranti

 

 

Makar Sankranti is a festival to let bygones be bygones, to start afresh on a new note. It’s an occasion to welcome strong and loving relationships in the forthcoming year. There are many Sankranti’s through the year; the two significant ones being Makar Sankranti, and right opposite, after summer solstice is Karka Sankranti. In between, there are many Sankranti – every time the zodiac signs changes, it is called a Sankranti to suggest the movement of the planet, to understand that our life is sustained and nourished by this movement.

 

Makar Sankranti – Festival of movement

 

 

So Makar Sankranti is a festival to recognize the movement, the movement being a celebration, the movement being life, movement being the process of life and the beginning and the end of life. At the same time, the word ‘shankara’ is used to remind that the one behind this, Shiva, is a still one; stillness is the basis of movement. The significance of Makar Sankranti is that it is the time to remind yourself that celebrating movement is possible only when there is a taste of stillness within you.

 

Festival of TIL-GUL

 

 

Til-gul is sesame and jaggery ladoos. These laddoos are distributed on Makar Sankranti, to spread the message of love and joy. Sesame and jaggery being warm foods are beneficial for good health in this season.

 

Kite Flying On Makar Sankranti

 

 

Kite-flying is a fun way of basking in the sun, reaping maximum benefit for the body. The bright sky is flooded with a myriad of colourful and beautiful kites, trying to reach out to our beloved sun God. Gujarat is known for its kite flying competition and the famous Gujarati slogan ‘Kai Po Chhe’ can be heard reverberating all around.

 

Sweet Delicacies of This Season

Til Laddoos, Til Chikkis ( Gujarati delicacy), Kurmure Chikki ( Maharashtrian speciality, combination of puffed rice and jaggery), Puli Pitha ( Bengali speciality), Rewari ( Punjab speciality) Til Pitha ( Assamese pancake), Gulachi Poli ( Maharashtrian flatbread), Makara Chaula ( Oriya-speciality), Crushed peanut laddoo Pinni ( north Indian speciality), Sakkarai Pongal ( Tamil Nadu speciality ), etc are some of the traditional sweetmeats savoured during this rich harvest season.