Makar Sankranti could be describe as the first festival in the Hindu calendar and is definitely an auspicious day for them. It is celebrated in almost all corners of the country in various cultural forms. The only thing common in all these celebration is the fervour, great devotion and the most important of all is gaiety. It is also known as Uttarayan which means that sun has started his journey towards northward direction and traditionally it is going to enter Makar or Capricorn sign. Basically this festival shows the movement of sun and along with it a belief moves which says that people could get relieve from all their evil karma by taking a dip in the sacred river Ganga.
When it is celebrated?
Every year it falls on the 14th of January. People pray to lord Sun on this auspicious day. Pilgrimage like Ganga Sagar as well as Prayag is overcrowded by devotees. People from distant places travel to these landmarks in order to take a dip here.
Ways of celebration
People from southern India celebrate this festival as Pongal whereas in Punjab you may see people doing Bhangra on this day and celebrating it as Maghi or Lohri. Crowd of Rajasthan and Gujarati stare relevantly towards the sun and at the same time pack the sky with enormous and colorful kites. This time it is highly in rumor that these kites will be with politician figures inscribed on them. Imagine all the politicians flying in the air!
This festival covers the skyline with colorful kites all around. Interestingly people belonging to all caste and creed enjoy this tradition with diverse kites. You will get confuse about the real color of the sky as it will be packed with so many colorful kites.
Importance of it for various regions
“Khichiri” as it is called in Uttar Pradesh, is celebrated by dipping in the holy water as it is considered to be the most auspicious one. In Prayag (Allahabad), for full one month a fair held called Magha- Mela during this festival. You could enjoy this auspicious bath at Triveni, Garh& Haridvar in Mukteshwar area in Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar you could enjoy it in Patna.
You could also witness a huge Mela in Ganga Sagar (Bengal) where the most sacred river The Ganga. It is said that river Ganga had dived in the nether area and along with that 60,000 ancestors of the great king Bhagirath’s ash was vivified in it. Maharashtra celebrates it by exchanging tilgud of various colors (til and jiggery sweets) among each other.
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Gujarat celebrates this festival by exchanging gifts among loved ones. Pundits grant scholarship to those students who are opting for higher course in philosophy and astrology. Kite festival is a great part of this festival here. Internationally this kite flying has gain popularity.
It is said that with the beginning of the year you could actually wash all your evil karma during this festival. Whole India celebrates it in own way!