Follow Us:
Monday, July 16, 2018

Makar Sankranti 2017: 5 Interesting Facts you didn’t know about Makar Sankranti

From flying kites to taking a holy dip on Makar Sankranti-- know all about these unique rituals about this festival.

By: Lifestyle Desk | Kolkata | Updated: January 14, 2017 10:42:15 am
makar sankranti festival, makar sankranti date, makar sankranti 2017,makar sankranti kites, makar sankranti news, makar sankranti photos, makar sankranti videos, makar sankranti muhurt, makar sankranti worship tips, dharma karma, makarsankranti festival 2017, makarsankranti festival date and time, know more about makarsankranti festival, why we celebrate makarsankrant Devotees perform Makar Sankranti Puja after taking a holy dip in Ganga river at the Assi Ghat in Varanasi. (Source: Express Photo by Anand Singh)

India is a land of diversity and each region has its own share of festivals that are celebrated with utmost fanfare and galore. Makar Sankranti is one such occasion that is celebrated across the country – with different names but with a common purpose.

The harvest festival is observed to thank nature for its abundant resources and good produce. From Gujarat to Assam, from Kashmir to Kerala, each region has its own rituals and practices to celebrate the onset of spring.

Read | Makar Sankranti 2017 Wishes: Best Makar Sankranti SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook messages

Here are some interesting facts about the festival.

makar sankranti festival, makar sankranti date, makar sankranti 2017,makar sankranti kites, makar sankranti news, makar sankranti photos, makar sankranti videos, makar sankranti muhurt, makar sankranti worship tips, dharma karma, makarsankranti festival 2017, makarsankranti festival date and time, know more about makarsankranti festival, why we celebrate makarsankrant Young kids dress as gods and seek for money at ghats during Sankranti pujas. (Express Photo by Anand Singh)

Name and date

As most Hindu festivals are celebrated according to the lunar calendar and thus there is no fixed date every year, Sankranti is observed according to the solar calendar. Hence, the festival is celebrated every year on January 14. The name derives from the belief that on Sankranti, the Sun traverses into the zodiacal sign of Makara (Capricorn) on its celestial path, which is the first change in the zodiac after the winter solstice and is the first day of the month of Magha. The word ‘Sankranti’ signifies the movement of the sun from one zodiac sign to another. Thus, the name of the festival literally means the movement of the sun into Capricorn.

Read | Makar Sankranti 2017: Try these amazing recipes for a delicious treat

makar sankranti festival, makar sankranti date, makar sankranti 2017,makar sankranti kites, makar sankranti news, makar sankranti photos, makar sankranti videos, makar sankranti muhurt, makar sankranti worship tips, dharma karma, makarsankranti festival 2017, makarsankranti festival date and time, know more about makarsankranti festival, why we celebrate makarsankrant A foreigner with other college students celebrating Pongal festival at their college premises in Chennai. (Source: PTI)

Different names, same festival

The festival is a way to celebrate the harvest of the Rabi (winter) crops. As the festival also marks the end of the winter season, people pray to the Sun god and its journey in the northern hemisphere, also known as Uttarayan. Hence in Gujarat, the festival is known by this name. It is also the end of month of Pausha/ Poush ( a month in Hindu calendar), thus in Bengal, the festival is known as Poush Sankranti. In Assam, it goes by the name of Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu, in parts of UP and Bihar, it is known as Khichdi and Pongal in south India.

Read | Makar Sankranti 2017: Wishes, Greetings, Puja Date, Time Importance and Significance

makar sankranti festival, makar sankranti date, makar sankranti 2017,makar sankranti kites, makar sankranti news, makar sankranti photos, makar sankranti videos, makar sankranti muhurt, makar sankranti worship tips, dharma karma, makarsankranti festival 2017, makarsankranti festival date and time, know more about makarsankranti festival, why we celebrate makarsankrant Tilgul or Til laddoo is the main sweet dish in Makar Sankranti festival. (Source: Thinkstock images)

Common food

As the harvest festival, people around the country celebrate the occasion with fresh produce of the season, that is predominantly dominated by jaggery (gur). Rice, nuts, radish and sesame (til) is also an integral part of the festive food. Almost every region consume jaggery and sesame on this day.

According to popular belief, it is said on Makar Sankranti the Sun forgives his son Shani and visits him. So by distributing sweets everyone is urged to let go of anger and negative feelings and live with peace. Everyone says “til-gul ghya ani gud gud bola” which means “eats these sesame seeds and jaggery and speak sweet words”.

makar sankranti festival, makar sankranti date, makar sankranti 2017,makar sankranti kites, makar sankranti news, makar sankranti photos, makar sankranti videos, makar sankranti muhurt, makar sankranti worship tips, dharma karma, makarsankranti festival 2017, makarsankranti festival date and time, know more about makarsankranti festival, why we celebrate makarsankrant Foreign tourists having fun by flying kites at City Palace in Jaipur ahead of Makar Sankranti. (Source: PTI)

Flying kites on Sankranti

Erstwhile, it was believed that winter brought in a lot of germs and bacterias that caused illness such as flu. So, people used to fly kites basking in the early morning sun on the day of Makar Sankranti to get rid of bad bacteria. Flying kites are only a way to make the task more exciting.

makar sankranti festival, makar sankranti date, makar sankranti 2017,makar sankranti kites, makar sankranti news, makar sankranti photos, makar sankranti videos, makar sankranti muhurt, makar sankranti worship tips, dharma karma, makarsankranti festival 2017, makarsankranti festival date and time, know more about makarsankranti festival, why we celebrate makarsankrant Gangasagar Mela: Pilgrims from all over India on holy dip on the eve of Makar Sankranti. (Source: Express Photo by Subham Dutta)

Fairs and pilgrimage

Makar Sankranti is associated with pilgrimage as it is considered as the most pious time to take a holy dip. In Uttar Pradesh, Kumbh Mela starts with Makar Sankranti every 12 years. In West Bengal, there is Gangasagar or Sagardweep Mela where pilgrims take a dip in the holy river to wash off all their sins. In Kerala, one of the most austere pilgrimages of Shabrimala ends on this auspicious day.

For all the latest Lifestyle News, download Indian Express App