A brief about Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over the country. Not only India, it is seen celebrated at Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. Another name given to the festival is Harvest festival as it falls in the month of January which according to Hindu calendar is known as ‘Megh’ and zodiac sign Capricorn which in our native language is called Makar rashi. As mentioned earlier, this festival is celebrated all over the country but all over the country but celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. First of all, it has several regional names. For example in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, it is known as Sankranthi. In Tamil Nadu it is known as Pongal whereas as it’s commonly known name is popular in many states like Chhattisgarh, Goa, Odisha, Haryana, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Telangana and West Bengal. As Uttarayan in Gujarat, as Maghi in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, as Lohri in Punjab, as Bhogali Bihu in Assam, as Shishur Saenkraat: Kashmir Valley, as Khichdi in Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar and Makara Sankramana in Karnataka.
Talking about outside India, in Nepal, it is known as Maghe Sankranti, Songkran in Thailand, Pi Ma Lao in Laos, Thingyan in Myanmar, Moha Sngkran in Cambodia and the same name as sid in Tamil Nadu by Srilankans – Pongal. In Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated over four days. First day is Bhogi , Day swcond is Makara Sankran - the main festival day, third day is Kanuma and the last day is Mukkanuma.
How Makar Sanranti is celebrated
In Assam, the occasion is celebrated with feasting lasting for a week. The festival is marked by feasts and bonfires. Young people erect makeshift huts, known as meji, from bamboo, leaves and thatch, in which they eat the food prepared for the feast, and then burn the huts the next morning. Assamese games are also paramount feature of the occasion namely such as tekeli bhonga (pot-breaking) and buffalo fighting. This festival is considered to be one of the most important festivals in Eastern India namely Bihar and Jharkhand. People start their day by worshiping and putting til (sesame seeds) into fire followed by eating Dahi-chuda, as in former dahi, i.e. curd predominates over chuda, i.e. beaten rice or avalakki in Kannada in amount along with Tilkut and Lai. At night a special feast is made called Khichdi. Khichdi ke 4chaar yaar, chokha, papad, ghee, achaar where some prefer to add many more tastes in order to tantalize their taste buds, side dishes with khichdi like chatni, tilauri, etc. Such kind of dish is prepared only once a year. Then why not prepare with full ingredients and a stint of love. Thus, the dish i.e. khichdi is blend of love and masalas and other ingredients. The festival is also referred to as Khichdi festival. Talking about Delhi and its adjacent areas which are legally called national capital region, there Jats and other rural communities of Delhi and Haryana, and many neighboring states consider Sakraat or Sankranti to be one of the main festivals of the year. Sweet dishes are prepared like sooji ka Halwa is cooked on this day, and one brother of every married woman visits her in - laws or her new home with a gift in the form of some warm clothing for her and her husband. This is basically the tradition and ethics. Moving to Gujarat, we should it has a plethora of kites flown on Sankranti. Gujarati people keenly await this festival to fly kites, called 'patang' in mother tongue. Kites for Uttarayan (as called Sankranti in Gujarat) are made of special light-weight paper and bamboo and are mostly rhombus shaped. In Gujarat, from December through to Makara Sankranti, people start enjoying Uttarayan. Undhiyu – multiple dishes that are made of spicy, baked mix of winter vegetables and chikkis that are made from til, peanuts and jaggery are the special festival recipes prepared on the fun-filled day. In the major cities of Vadodara, Surat and Ahmedabad, the skies appear filled with thousands upon thousands of kites as people enjoy two full days of Uttarayan up on their terraces. When people cut any kites they used to yell with words in gujarati like kaypo chhe, e lapet, phirki vet phirki, lapet lapet. In Himachal Pradesh, it is said that from this day, which is an indication for change of season, the migratory birds start returning to the hills. On Magha Saaja, people wake up early in the morning around five and take ceremonial dips and shower in the water springs or Baolis, the pahaari language. In the daytime people visit their neighbours and together enjoy special made Khichdi made of rich ingredients say, ghee and groundnut and a lot of rich masalas and Chaas and also distribute it in charity at temples and in orphanage. Festival culminates with singing and Naati, the himalyan dance.
Similarly in other states like Maharashtra, Karnatka, Kerala the festival is again celebrated with this kind of enthusiasm, zeal and pomp.