How to Celebrate Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival celebrated all over India. It also celebrates the movement of the earth around the sun. The word Makar Sankranti signifies the transition of the sun's position to Capricorn or ‘Makar’. What makes this festival special is that it celebrates the New Year as well. The way the festival is celebrated varies as we move throughout the country, but the basic celebratory factors remain the same.
Food is an important part of any Indian festival and more so with this one being a harvest festival. Major crops are harvested during this period which has given birth to the tradition of preparing delicacies using those produces. Sugarcane, rice, wheat and other grains are all harvested at this time. Therefore each geographical region in India has its own Makar Sankranti delicacies. Til Laddoos are a staple of this festive season and are made and distributed in almost every region in India. The Punjabis have their Pinni, a bite-sized delicacy made from ghee or clarified butter, jaggery and almonds. The Marathis make Puran Poli or sweet stuffed flatbread. Bengal has a whole festival called Pithe Parban, where delicious confections made with milk, ghee, coconut and rice flour are served.
The onslaught of winter means that it’s time to air out the woollens and get ready for some fun in the winter sun. Winter time is the perfect season for outdoor activities. The weather is good, crisp and chilly. So step out of the house. Go for walks or picnics in the park. If you are an adventure junkie, head to the hills for some winter sports like skiing.
Head to Patnitop, a hilltop tourist destination in Jammu and Kashmir for skiing and sledging. You could visit the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Give Shimla a miss and visit more virginal and rustic locales like Auli and Triund. You could go for a trek as these places are inaccessible by transportation in winter due to snowfall. If you are not an adventure junkie then a great way to spend the winter months would be by booking a stay in a cabin or a hotel in one of the many hill stations in various parts of India. If travelling is not an option then just go over to the nearest open space or field and enjoy a good game with your friends. Soak up the winter sun and let the vitamin D into your pores.
Visiting Local Fairs and Festivals
Winter time in India means time for fairs, festivals and exhibitions. Whatever your personality type be, there is an outdoor festival happening somewhere in India that will match your interest. Some of the popular winter festivals in India are the Gujarat Kite Festival, Lohri Celebrations in Punjab, Magh Bihu Festival of Assam, Thai Pongal of Tamil Nadu, the Camel Festival held in Bikaner, Goa Carnival, Kutch Rann Mahotsav etc. Other than these, there are numerous music festivals, fairs, outdoor exhibitions, food fairs and literary festivals held all over India. Most big cities have festivals starting from November, which goes on till March. Go to the ones nearest to you to listen to great music, taste scrumptious food, browse through books at book fairs or listen to sessions by famous authors and intellectuals. You could visit rural fairs like the world famous Kumbh Mela or the Poush Mela in Santiniketan.
10 Gifts For Friends and Family on Makar Sankranti
Dry fruits are the gifts of choice for a number of Indian festivals. Dry fruits great gifts because they have multiple uses. They are an easy and healthy snack that can be carried around in your bag, they don’t expire easily as they are dehydrated, they are full of essential nutrients which benefit the skin and the hair and they are used in a large number of Indian delicacies. So gift your friends and family some healthy goodness this Makar Sankranti - the Ghasitaram Satin Dryfruit Box. This box is divided into eight parts each containing 50 gms of various dry fruits and nuts like dried figs, cashews, almonds, pistachios, almonds and walnuts. They are vacuum packed and nitrogen flushed to retain freshness. Buy the box for ₹1,166 from Amazon.
Til Laddoo Hamper
Food is an important part of the Makar Sankranti festival and exchanging seasonal goodies with friends and family is a great way to participate in the festivities. Flying kites is a tradition and a fun activity associated with Makar Sankranti. There are kite flying festivals held in some parts of India as well. So, usher in the new year with this cute gift hamper from Gifts Across India. It contains a pack of white Til or sesame Laddoos along with two small kites. This is the perfect gift for children and even adults who enjoy flying kites and feasting on some wholesome and delicious goodies. Buy it for ₹435. You get other varieties of sweet hampers as well like Rajgira Laddu and Peanut Chikki. There are hampers with four kites as well for a larger group of people.
Colourful Home Furnishings
Decorating and cleaning up the house is a mandatory ritual before any festival in India. Making your house look colourful and bright for your Makar Sankranti guests is therefore always a good idea. Therefore colourful home furnishings are a great alternative gift apart from Sweets and food. Buy this Indian Potpourri cushion cover from chumbak.com. This kitschy cover is printed with graphics explaining the diversity of the Indian Subcontinent, referencing everything from food to music to iconic monuments, clothes and animals. It’s basically a beautiful artistic representation of the Indian map. This square cushion cover is made of polyester and cotton. It measures 40 x 40 cms. Buy it for ₹595.
Making the house look good is important, but making it smell good is equally a necessity. The festive season implies that the house will be full of guests and smells from cooking and peoples clothes can make the atmosphere a bit musty. Therefore a box of scented candles would make a great gift. Fresh apples and cinnamon come together in this 6 piece jar candle set from pepperfry.com. The pack contains a jar candle along with 6 tea lights. The candles are bright red in colour which will brighten up your room to no end. The warm smell of roasted apples and cinnamon will make your house smell deliciously sweet. Use them in the living room, the bedroom or even in the bathroom for a touch of freshness and a fragrant atmosphere. Buy the pack for ₹462.
Decorative Puja Thali
Like most festivals in India, Makar Sankranti too has a religious significance. The delicacies prepared are given as an offering to the Sun God. Therefore puja related utensils and commodities would make quite an appropriate Makar Sankranti gift. This colourful Puja Thali from Tuski is just perfect for the occasion. This multicolour thali is decorated with colourful pompoms which line the edges of the plate along with mirror-like accents. The thali comes with two small bowl fixtures in the middle for putting liquids like sandal, kumkum and haldi paste. The round thali also has pearl decorations This is a brightly coloured piece which can also serve as a beautiful piece of home décor. It can be used for various religious and traditional rituals. Buy it for ₹395 from Amazon.
Winter time is the time to stuff oneself with delicious food. The chill outside somehow gives rise to uncontrollable snack attacks. To take care of that, gift yourself or someone you love this delicious gourmet food hamper from The Gourmet Box. This specially curated Celebrations Box contains Dessert Sauce or Flavored Chocolate Sauce Jar, a jar of Flavored Nuts, a pack of Flavored Shortbread Cookies, a pack of Gourmet Candy, A set of 2 Mini Chocolate Fudge Jar Set and a Scented Candle. Everything comes packed into a beautiful floral design box filled with colour paper and tied with a ribbon along with a pretty gift tag. These wholesome snacks won’t harm your health but take care of your hunger pangs and satisfy your sweet tooth. Most of these fall under the category of healthy snacks, therefore you shouldn’t stop yourself from enjoying these delicious goodies even if you are watching your weight or are a fitness freak. Buy the box for ₹3,000.
Kite Wall Decal
We have already mentioned home décor as a plausible gift option for Makar Sankranti. One of the symbols associated with the festival is the kite. Therefore decorating the home with Makar Sankranti-themed accents is a fresh new idea. This 'Kids Flying with Kite ' Wall Sticker from Wall stick is a pretty but inexpensive gift perfect for the budgeted shopper. This wall vinyl measuring 110 cm x 150 cm, is a multicolour piece of wall art, perfect for any room in the house. This matte finish wall vinyl is easy to stick and remove. Use it to brighten up the walls of the living room or even the kid’s room. It will serve as a wonderful background for any festival decoration as well. What else? Posing in front of a wall adorned with this decal will surely make you more popular on social media. Buy it for a very low price of ₹199 from Amazon.
Light up the clear winter night sky with beautiful lights. Light up some floating paper lanterns and let them fly. Gift these to someone you love and you can set it off together. The Crazy Sutra Make a Wish paper sky lanterns are the perfect gift to start the new year with. A pack of 5 lanterns costs around ₹462. Don’t gift this to kids though, and if you are planning to set it off with a kid then make sure that you are always there with the kid to avoid accidents. You can buy the pack on Amazon.
Box of Chocolate
If there is one gift that has a very low chance of being disliked or rejected, then it’s a yummy box of chocolates. This Makar Sankranti gift someone you love a box of yummy chocolate truffles from Ferns and Petals. This box contains 6 assorted chocolates each one with an individual flavour. These chocolates are filled with nuts and have a soft gooey centre. The chocolate flavours include Mocha, Rose, Hazelnut, Mint, Fruit n Nut, Roasted Almonds, and Pista Crisp. Chocolate lovers will, of course, love this gift but even people who are not crazy about chocolate will love exploring the diverse flavours and textures of these little bite-sized beauties. The chocolates come packed into a beautiful compartmentalized box tied with a gold ribbon. Buy it for ₹669.
Ethnic Sling Bag
If sweets or puja items seem too generic as Makar Sankranti gifts then you can also gift something different like this beautiful green and black ethnic style jhola bag from Rangresha. This boho sling bag has Worli art print on the outside. The outer part is made of cotton and the inner material is teri-cotton. The cross body bag has a long handle and a zippered closure. The bag measures 15 cm x 1 cm x 22 cm. It has three separate compartments to keep all your belongings. This bag is perfect for people who have a cool ethnic or bohemian vibe. Get it for ₹300 from Amazon.
Go on a Picnic to Make the Most of the Great Weather
Winter time in India is the perfect time for picnics. The weather is dry, the sun is not too hot and the temperatures are just perfect for some quality time, outdoors. If you are going for a picnic with a large group of people then you could either make it a potluck where everyone brings along some dish or take packed food along with you. Some people also choose to cook their food outside on a wood fire or a have a barbecue party of sorts. Large elaborate picnics involve catering services and sometimes even bartenders. But we would recommend going on a picnic with a small intimate group of people or maybe just with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Take along food like sandwiches or salads along with bottles of cold beverages. You could take some beer, ginger ale, lemonade or fruit juice. Take a chiller or an ice-box to keep your drinks nice and cool. Carry desserts which are not messy, like dry cakes, choco-chip cookies or brownies. Cake with frosting can spill and get messy.
Celebrate Makar Sankranti the Traditional Way!
Makar Sankranti is an auspicious Hindu festival which is associated with harvesting. It is celebrated all across the country by kite flying, eating home-made delicacies and having fun with friends and family. Celebrate it this year by making some of your own delicacies, or go kite flying with your friends and family to make it a memorable experience for your loved ones and yourself.