Makar Sankranti has been observed throughout India enthusiastically the first Indian festival on the Gregorian calendar is Makar Sankranti, which is observed as a solstice festival. Every state and region in India celebrates Makar Sankranti in a unique way, and some of the neighboring nations also participate. Although the festival goes by many names, the spirit of celebration is the same everywhere! Makar Sankranti is marked by kite flying, eating lots of sesame chikkis and sweets, and spending time with family.
Makar Sankranti, Makara Basiba – Odisha
The culture of the state of Odisha is well-known. “Makara Basiba” is one such unique tradition and practice. According to this custom, two people of the same gender tie the knot of friendship for a year on the occasion of Makara Sankranthi each year.
This custom is primarily observed in the state’s Western region, where people use the occasion to reaffirm their friendship with their best friend. Although there is no evidence to support its origin, this practice is carried out jubilantly.
According to legend, Lord Shri Rama and King Sugriba developed a close friendship during the Tretayuga and helped one another. Some academics claim that when the Makara tradition of Odisha first developed, this mythological occurrence served as its inspiration.
A unique dish called Makara chaula is made in Odisha during the festive season. Banana, coconut, jaggery, and freshly harvested rice are the ingredients in this dish and this food is offered to God.
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Andhra Pradesh and Telangana celebrate Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is a four-day festival that is enthusiastically observed in Andhra and Telangana. Families get together to celebrate it in a traditional manner and with lots of sweets. The first day is Bhoghi, followed by Makara Sankranti, Kanuma, and finally, Mukkanuma. The celebrations and traditions change from day to day.
Nepal observes Maghe Sankranti
Maghe Sankranti is the name of the festival of Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated, like most other regions, with sesame seeds. One story says that a businessman once had a sack of sesame seeds that never seemed to run out. Sesame seeds turned out to be lucky after he searched the bag and came across a Lord Vishnu idol. After Makar Sankranti, the auspicious period begins, and all ceremonies are carried out in Nepal during this time.
Delhi and Haryana’s Sakraat
In the states of Delhi and Haryana, the Makar Sankranti festival has special significance because it also honors the unique relationship between brothers and their married sisters. Brothers visit their married sisters and bring them sweets and warm clothing. On this day, the wives also give gifts to their husbands’ families and in-laws. The men and women gather in one location to sing songs and celebrate the festival.
Bihar and Jharkhand’s Sakraat or Khichdi
The two-day celebration takes place in Bihar and Jharkhand, and it involves holy river baths in the morning followed by bonfires where sesame seeds are offered. Sesame seeds and jaggery are both used in food preparation. Village women gather to celebrate the festival while preparing simple but filling dishes like rice and lentils or curd and rice/puffed rice with some vegetables.
Himachal Pradesh’s Magha Saaji
The term “Sankrant” in the local language is “Saaji,” and “Magha” refers to the month and the sun sign Capricornian that begins when the festival does. People welcome spring by bathing in holy water or taking a river dip on the day that the seasons change. They give their neighbors gifts like khichdi or chikki and ghee when they visit. On this day, locals perform numerous acts of charity and visit temples. Folk dances and songs are performed to celebrate the evening.
Gujarat hosts a unique international kite flying festival, in addition to a lavish celebration of Makar Sankranti. When to leave, people stay at home and gather with their kites on terrace tops after morning prayers. There are numerous kite contests and clashes. People eat sweets like chikki and a special Undhiyu preparation together, which is a mix of spiced vegetables The festival is lavishly observed by the state.
Kale Kauva or Ghughuti – Uttarakhand
As they believe it to be the time when the birds’ migration comes to an end, the people of Uttarakhand celebrate Makar Sankranti as the festival of the migratory birds. The locals host fairs and get-togethers and donate food as a charity, including khichdi. Fried sweetened flour is used to make sweetmeats, which kids are instructed to give to crows as a blessing for the migratory birds on their trip home.
Karnataka’s harvest festival, Suggi, is primarily observed by farmers and females. In a custom known as Ellu Birodhu, the women make house visits to one another and bring a plate of gifts and treat to trade. Sesame seeds, jaggery, and other nuts, including fried ground nuts and coconut, sugar-cane pieces, and sugary treats are all present on the plate. Women also decorate the cattle with colorful decorations, paint their horns, and draw rangolis outside of their homes.
Tamil Nadu’s Pongal
Like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Tamil Nadu also celebrates Pongal for four days, with each day having its own special significance. Everyone gets dressed in new clothes, cleans and decorates their homes, and discards or donates all of their unnecessary possessions on the first day. The second day, when people celebrate by consuming sweets and rice reparations, is the main Pongal day. The rice is brought to a boil with milk and jaggery, and then allowed to finish cooking on its own. When the rice boils over, a special cry is made, and Pongal is celebrated. After the rice has been offered to the god, the people divide it. The remaining two days are devoted to visiting the family and paying homage to the cattle.
Maghi, which is also known as Lohri, is a favorite holiday in Punjab and heralds the start of warmer weather. They take a bath early in the morning and light lamps with sesame oil to drive away the night and bring prosperity. They socialize throughout the day, eat a filling meal with sesame treats, and end the day with massive bonfires.
West Bengal native Poush Parbon
Poush Parbon is observed in West Bengal. Because it takes place on the last day of the previous month, Poush, which ushers at the beginning of the Hindu month of Magha, the festival bears the name of the latter. Khejurer Gur, a distinctive palm jaggery that is only available at this time, is used to make sweets and delicacies. People honor the goddess Lakshmi on the day of Sankranti. But in Darjeeling, the festival is celebrated as Magey Sakrati, and Lord Shiva is worshipped.