Makar Sankranti is an auspicious festival celebrated across the country with great devotion and zeal, albeit with differentiated rituals depending on regional traditions. It is not just an astronomical festival, but has deep linkages with agriculture in India as well.
The festival marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn) on its celestial path and believed to mark the beginning of warmer and longer days.
Makar Sankranti is very significant for the farming community as it commemorates the beginning of the harvest season and cessation of the northeast monsoon in South India. Farmers pray on this occasion to be blessed with abundant harvest throughout the year.
The festival also marks the beginning of an auspicious phase in an Indian’s day to day life according to the Hindu calendar. Another unique aspect being the different names that the festival is celebrated by across the length and breadth of the country.. It is called Lohri in Punjab, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Poush Parbon in West Bengal, Sakranti in Bihar, Uttarayan in Gujarat and Makara Sankrant in Maharashtra.
In Northern India, Lohri is celebrated by lighting a bonfire at night, along with dancing and folk songs accompanied by music instruments. People prepare delicacies with white sesame seeds, sugarcane and with other seasonal harvest. Kite flying is also an essential part of Makar Sankranti, especially in North and North-West India. Pongal, which is celebrated in Tamil Nadu, is a four-day festival. The first day is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old clothes and materials, and replacing them with new ones. The second day is celebrated by boiling rice, milk and jaggery in new pots, first served to nature and then to the people.
In Maharashtra, everyone exchanges colorful halwa and til-gul laddu as tokens of goodwill. In Odhisa, Makar Sankranti falls right after the harvesting of the paddy crops. People offer special harvested rice and sugarcane mixed with jaggery, grated coconut etc. to the Gods. Tribal groups celebrate the festival by lighting the bonfire, traditional dancing and eating their delicacies.
So on the eve of this pious occasion we on behalf of Mahyco, wish everybody a very happy Makar Sankranti and a bountiful harvesting season ahead.
– Team Mahyco