Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Makara Sankranti 2014: The Holiest Day

Makara Sankranti, Pongal or Magh Bihu, though it is called by many names, it stands for one common thing - Harvest Festival. This festival which occurs on January 14 every year is a grand gala celebration. Read on...

Makara Sankranti, Pongal

Celebrating Harvest Festival - Region Wise

Makara Sankranti will be observed on 14th of January, 2014. Makara Sankranti is a festival celebrated with great zeal and zest all over the country. This harvest festival is known by many names depending on the region it is being celebrated. While Makara Sankranti is name followed in majority of the states of India, it is also known as Pongal in the state of Tamil Nadu, Lohri in Punjab, Magh Bihu in Assam, Uttarayan in Gujarat and so on. We will give you an idea of different rituals and customs followed in various states in this article. 

Makara Sankranti

Makara Sankranti, the grand harvest festival is celebrated to mark the journey of sun towards north. As Sankranti festival is celebrated as per the solar calendar, the date remains the same every year, January 14. The actual definition for the word Sankranti is the journey of sun from one zodiac sign to another. But now-a-days, Sankranti is more popularly known as the harvest festival. People thank the Gods for a good harvest and share the joy with one and all. One of the main attractions of Makara Sankranti is the tradition of Kite flying.

Pongal Or Bhogi

Pongal is the festival celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu. This festival is celebrated for a period of four days. The first day is the Bhogi festival, which symbolizes new beginning. As such, people follow the tradition of getting rid of all the old stuff by throwing them into the bonfire. The second day is the Surya Pongal, when the traditional Pongal (sweet dish) is prepared and the Sun God is worshipped. The third day is called as the Mattu (cow) Pongal. On this day cows, which are one of the main sources for agriculture are worshipped. The main attraction of this day is the Jallikattu (bull fighting). The fourth and the final day is called the Kaanum Pongal, where in people visit the dear and near ones to exchange sweets and gifts. This Festival is also known as ‘Ellu Beerodu’ in Karnataka, celebrated by the people of Kannada community; and in the state of Andhra Pradesh, this festival is called as Sankranti or ‘Pedda Pandiga’ (big festival). 

Magh Bihu In Assam

Magh Bihu is the harvest festival of Assam. This festival is all about extravagant celebrations, which last for weeks. Many traditions are followed by the people of Assam during the Magh Bihu like Tekeli Bhonga, which is the breaking of earthen pots and bull fighting. People from near and far get their bulls to participate in the annual festivals for attractive prize money. This festival goes on for weeks where in makeshift huts are built, in which festive food is served to enjoy. Once the food is eaten, the huts are burned down as per the traditions which are followed. 

Every festival comes alive when celebrated with dear ones. In that context, mother nature is a dear one here. Sankranti, the harvest festival brings everyone closer to mother nature and gives us a chance to thank her for all the good that has been bestowed on us. With this, we wish one and all a very happy Makara Sankranti 2014!

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