Celebrating the Arrival of Spring: Makar Sankranti 2024

The New Year began on January 1st, but according to the Hindu Calendar, it is the festival of Makar Sankranti that marks the beginning of a New Year!

Known with unique names in different regions, Makar Sankranti is the first festival of the year and is considered immensely auspicious. It is called Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Maaghi in Punjab, Bhogali Bihu in Assam and Uttarayan in Gujarat.

Interestingly, the festival indicates the end of harsh winter, and the arrival of spring and the harvest season.

Makar Sankranti has many varied celebrations that differ from region to region, and each of them has its traditions and culture around the festival.

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Different States, Different Celebrations!

A lot of fun and vigour is what Makar Sankranti is about in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Colourful kites are flown, and both young and old celebrate this festival together.

In North India, masses of crowds take a holy dip in the sacred rivers of Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari and more. The belief is that the holy bath brings merit to people and washes off their sins.

In Rajasthan, Makar Sakranti is eminent for married women! All married women give gifts to other married women. These are often household items or cosmetics.

In South India, the festival is called Pongal and the celebrations go on for three days. On the first day, an offering of boiled rice with milk is given to the rain god, followed by the sun god on the second day. On the third day, the family cattle are given a bath and are adorned with unique decorations.

The Delicious Food!

In any Hindu festival, how can food and sweets be left behind? In most parts of India, til (sesame seeds) is essential to the celebrations of Makar Sankranti. There are Til Laddoos and Gajak, Kheer that are eaten during Makar Sankranti! The yummy Ghevar is another prominent sweet eaten during this festival.

In Uttar Pradesh and a few parts of Bihar, Khichdi, a dish made of rice, dal and colourful vegetables is cooked in pure ghee as a part of the celebrations.

So, go ahead and choose your kind of celebration! We wish a Happy Makar Sankranti to everyone!