Makar Sankranti is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in the month of January. It is also known as the harvest festival as it marks the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of longer days. The festival is celebrated in different ways across India, but it is primarily associated with the flying of kites and the preparation of traditional sweets made from sesame seeds and jaggery. In this essay, we will explore the significance and traditions associated with Makar Sankranti.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th or 15th of January each year, depending on the Hindu calendar. The festival is dedicated to the Hindu deity Surya, the sun god, and marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn or Makara. This marks the beginning of longer days and the onset of warmer weather, which is a cause for celebration across India.
One of the most significant traditions associated with Makar Sankranti is the flying of kites. This tradition is especially popular in the state of Gujarat, where kite flying competitions are organized and enjoyed by people of all ages. Kites of different shapes, sizes, and colors are flown in the sky, and the competition is won by the person who successfully cuts the strings of other kites.
Another tradition associated with Makar Sankranti is the preparation of traditional sweets made from sesame seeds and jaggery. These sweets, known as til-gud, are distributed among family and friends as a sign of goodwill and prosperity. The combination of sesame seeds and jaggery is believed to provide warmth and energy to the body, which is especially important during the winter season.
Makar Sankranti is also associated with various religious and cultural beliefs. In some parts of India, people take holy dips in rivers, including the Ganges, to cleanse their sins and seek blessings from the sun god. The festival is also associated with various Hindu mythologies, including the story of Bhishma Pitamah, who chose to die on this auspicious day and attained moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
In conclusion, Makar Sankranti is an important festival that celebrates the onset of longer days and warmer weather. It is associated with various traditions and beliefs, including kite flying, the preparation of traditional sweets, and taking holy dips in rivers. The festival brings people together, and it is a time of joy, happiness, and prosperity. Makar Sankranti is a reminder of the rich cultural and religious heritage of India and the importance of celebrating and preserving it for future generations.