Makar Sankranti is a Hindu harvest festival that falls on a fixed Gregorian date of January 14 every year with an exception of a few years when the festival is celebrated on January 15. Makar Sankranti 2023 will be celebrated on 14th January.
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Other names for Makar Sankranti
The popular Indian festival is celebrated country-wide and is known by different names according to the region. Here’s what Sankranti is called in different parts of India:
- Lohiri (Punjab)
- Pedda Panduga or Sankranti Panduga (Andhra Pradesh)
- Poush sôngkranti (West Bengal)
- Makara Chaula (Odisha)
- Uttarayan (Gujarat)
- Pongal (Tamil Nadu)
- Magha Saaji (Himachal Pradesh)
- Suggi Habba (Karnataka)
- Magh/Bhogali Bihu (Assam)
- Shishur Saenkraat (Kashmir Valley)
- Sakraat (Bihar and Jharkhand)
- Kicheri (UP)
Significance of Makar Sankranti
The harvest festival occurs in January every year when the Sun moves into the Zodiac sign of Makar (Capricorn). Sankranti has a great religious as well as seasonal significance. The festival is dedicated to the Hindu deity of Surya (Sun God) and marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of the spring season with good harvests and lengthier days to spend.
What should be done on Makar Sankranti?
On the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti, most Hindus try to invoke the blessings of the Sun God (Surya) by doing the following:
- Taking a dip in the holy waters of Ganges, Yamuna, Krishna, or Godavari River.
- Performing a Surya Namaskar or sun salutation early in the morning before starting the day.
- Making offerings of cow’s milk in copperware to the Sun God.
People prepare traditional Sankranti dishes and sweets and distribute them to the neighbors. Sankranti food staples include Til Ladoo, Halwa, Puran Poli, Makar Chaula, Payesh, Pinni, and Pongal.
Legend surrounding Makar Sankranti
Legend has it that the Sun God and his son Shani never had good relations of father and son and on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti, Sun God visits the abode of his son to forgive him. For this reason, this day is also seen by Hindus as a day for forgiving people and forgetting about all the past battles with friends.
How is Sankranti celebrated across India?
The festivities of Makar Sankranti also vary across the country just as the names vary with the regions. Let’s have a look at Sankranti tradition in a few states.
Sankranti in Gujarat:
In the state of Gujarat where the festival is known as Uttarayan, the denizens of the state, both young and old fly kites under the blazing sun to mark the festivities of Makar Sankranti. The popular belief here is that exposure to the hot sun while flying kites on this auspicious day would burn the germs and detoxify the bodies.
Sankranti in Uttar Pradesh and Odisha:
In some states like Uttar Pradesh and Odisha melas or fairs are an integral part of Makar Sankranti. The most famous of the fairs are the Kumbh Mela and the Ganga Sagar Mela.
Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana:
Sankranti is one of the biggest festivals in the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and is celebrated with much fervor. The festival lasts for three days: Bhogi, Sankranti, and Kanuma. People decorate their homes with marigold flowers, mango leaf thoranams, put up colorful rangoli in front of homes and traditionally put a gobbemma (made with cow dung) at the center of the rangoli.
The three-day-long festivities begin with Bhogi Mantalu (bonfire). Old agricultural wastes and household articles that aren’t of any use are discarded in the blazing fire while people sing and rejoice at the coming of the new harvest season. Pongali, a type of porridge, is cooked with rice, milk, and jaggery.
Makar Sankranti is observed with prayers, new clothes, kite flying competitions, and elaborate feasts. One can see Haridasus and Basvannas visiting every home in the villages. On the third day, i.e., Kanuma, cattle are worshiped and people also pay homage to the elements of nature for the good harvest. Cockfights and bullfights are also common in some areas. Get your flight tickets booked at the best price with us now and travel to AP state this festive season for an insight into Andhra Pradesh culture and traditions. The neighboring state of Tamil Nadu also celebrates Sankranti in a more or less similar fashion.
Also Read: Know about the Unique Telangana Culture and Tradition
Sankranti in Karnataka and Maharashtra:
Sankranti is a three-day festival in Maharashtra and Karnataka too. Flying kites is a major part of Makar Sankranti celebrations in Maharashtra. Sweet delicacies like puran poli, til ladoos, halwa, ellu bella (in Karnataka) are exchanged on this day while uttering a regional saying which is meant to encourage each other to give up hostilities and foster good relations. Women in Maharashtra come together and perform the Haldi-Kumkum rituals. Dressing up cows and bulls in colorful costumes is another interesting Sankranti tradition in Karnataka.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Sankranti on 14 or 15?
Usually Sankranti is celebrated on 14th January every year. Sankranti 2023 will be celebrated on 14th January.
What is special about Sankranti?
Sankranti is a festival that marks the end of winters and the beginning of spring, which is also the best time for harvest in India. The preparation of mouthwatering dishes, traditional garments, and people flying color kites together is what makes Sankranti special.
What Sankranti means?
Sankranti is derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘sankramana’, which means ‘to begin to move’.
Where is Sankranti celebrated?
Sankranti is celebrated in nearly all states of India. It might have different names in various states but the significance is nearly the same. It is celebrated on a wide scale in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana etc.
Why is Makar Sankranti celebrated?
Makar Sankranti is observed to celebrate the Sun God, Surya. It marks the first day of the sun moving into the Makara rashi.
How do you celebrate Makar Sankranti at home? Comment below and share your family traditions with us!