Kites flying high up in the sky, large bonfires during the night, puja being done in the river, people dancing all along, huge feasts, tables adorned with dahi-chuda and gur, is what makes Makar Sankranti a much loved festival for us all.
I got reminded of my childhood days. And you? I bet you just walked down the memory lane and revisited the good old days.
One of the grandest festivals of India which although carries the tag of being region specific is not at all religion specific and that’s what makes the true essence of Makar Sankranti.
Story Behind Makar Sankranti!
Marking the end of winters and heralding the harvest season, Makar Sankranti has a rich history and traditions that have traversed different time spans.
According to a popular lore, Sankranti was a deity (after whom the name of the festival follows), who had killed a demon called Sankarasur. It is also believed that after this day, the sun begins to move towards Makar Rekha or Capricorn. This period is considered to be the period of Uttarayan or auspiciousness. Some even believe that Bhishma Pitamah waited for this propitious moment to embrace death.
As different as the people, so are their beliefs. But the thing that binds them together is the sheer devotion towards this festival!
Also known as Til Shakrat, Maghe Sankranti, Maghi Bhogi, or Môkôr Sôngkrānti Mela, Makar Sankranti has huge importance for people. This festival marking the end of winter season, also celebrates the harvest of the Rabi crop.
As far as religious importance is concerned, it is believed that on this day, demi gods wake up after the sun enters the Uttarayana as it is the day time of the deities. It is said that those who die during this period, get a place in Krishna Lok and those who die during Dakshinayan (Night for Gods), are believed to be reborn.
Whatever the reason and belief of people might be, the fervor that everyone has, gives a unique vibrancy to this festival!
Celebrations Across The Country!
Being one of the most revered festivals in India, people attach great value to Makar Sankranti and its celebrations. Although celebrated as Maghi, Bihu, Pongal or even Tirmori in Pakistan, the staple characteristics of this festival remains the same.
On the particular day, people tend to get up early as they pay homage to the Sun God. Taking a dip in the holy water and chanting mantras is also seen at various places. On this day, women pray for the long lives of their husbands and give gifts to elders. In certain states of the country, women also observe “Haldi-Kumkum”.
On this harvest festival, people light up diyas with sesame oil to ward off evil. Wearing new dresses, traditional folk dance and singing in some places form a significant part of Sankranti celebrations. Flying kites is also an important tradition, which is usually a contest where people try to cut down each other’s kites.
Indeed, being the biggest festival of India, Makar Sankranti enjoys the royalty as it does and brings in a whole new exuberance for the year ahead.
Makar Sankranti And Delicious Dishes!
Bidding goodbye to chilly winters and painting the sky with hues of colourful kites, people’s enthusiasm, all these reaches its height when delectable dishes make their way towards dinner tables.
Well, here are certain Sankranti special dishes that you can have to make your celebration a memorable one:-
An instant dish, dahi and chura is a staple of Til Shakrat. Eaten along with gur or jaggery, this mind-boggling dish is a great way to celebrate this harvest festival.
Til Ke Ladoo
The traditional Indian sweet balls, Til ke ladoo is a must make dish during Sankranti. If you’re thinking hard and giving your brain a tough time over what should be an ideal Sankranti dish, then you’re sorted.
This one dish will surely enhance the merriment of the festival and will give you a wonderful time of enjoyment this year.
Made from rice and lentils, khichdi is a much loved dish not only in India but in almost all the South Asian countries. The Sankranti vibes get all the more lively with this quick and easy dish.
So this time, without giving much ado, make this sumptuous dish at home!
A traditional rice pudding, kheer is yet another tasty dish that you can try making at your place. Its rich texture and aroma is surely gonna make your day the best one.
A traditional dish that is adored by all, Sooji Halwa is also a great item that is a must-make during Sankranti. If you have a sweet tooth, then this is the best dish for you and all your party freaks.
Sankranti, being a much loved festival is celebrated with huge fervor and ecstasy that turns all the more appealing when it comes to all these savoury dishes.
So, what are you waiting for? Just grab onto your mittens and make your festival all bright and blue!
Believed to bring success and prosperity, Makar Sankranti has a special place in people’s hearts. A great symbolism of peace and joyfulness, it gives the ultimate message of unity in diversity.
Sankranti surely is a blissful time to socialize with family and friends, and truly depicts a beautiful culture all through!