Makar Sankranti is a festival celebrated in India. It is the day marking the first day of the sun’s transit into Capricorn, marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days – this is a day in the Hindu calendar. It is one of the only few Indian festivals that are observed by solar cycles. Most festivals are set by lunar cycles in the Hindu Calendar, so it falls on the exact same day almost every year. It is celebrated vastly all over India with social festivities like colourful decorations, rural children going house to house signing and asking for treats or pocket money, fairs, dances, kite flying, bonfires and feasts. It is a festival from the ancient days ageing back to about 5000 years ago.
How Is Makar Sankranti Celebrated?
When it comes to celebrating this festival, there are many ways to do it. The Hindus have colourful decorations around their houses and surrounding them, and children go house to house singing their happy songs and asking for treats, and sometimes money. Small or big fairs are set up in various parts of the country, called Melas where there are games and shows for young and old. There are dances, and kite flying, and bonfires with singing and dancing under the moonlight in the warmth of the fire. People also celebrate this festival by having grand and exciting feasts. Many go to sacred rivers or lakes to bathe with thanksgiving to the sun, and every twelve years, they have one of the world’s largest mass pilgrimages, where about 40 – 100 million people attend the event. There they say a prayer to the sun and bather at the Prayaga confluence of the River Ganga and Yamuna at the Kumbha Mela, which is a tradition attributed to Adi Shankaracharya. This is celebrated on January 14 on most years, and January 15 on some. This time of the year is believed to be the time of peace and prosperity for all people and is a highly auspicious period.
Traditions of Makar Sankranti
Some of the things done on Makar Sankranti include chanting of mantra that will rid you of all problems you could face with the sun, starting your day with offering holy water and cow’s milk to the sun god in a copper utensil, and adding red flowers to the water makes it more auspicious. This takes away all your tensions and opens the doors to destiny. It is a ritual to donate on this day, and it is known that donations made on this day are to come back to you a by a hundredfold. The donations made are usually blankets, warm clothing, butter, cereals, rice porridge and so on. An offering is made to the sun god where jaggery and raw rice is poured into the water and cooked rice with milk and jaggery is eaten to please the god who will them shower blessings on you. After taking a bath early in the morning, face east and put a statue or a picture of the sun god in front of you and offer red flowers and chant a mantra to the god. These are only some of the traditions for this auspicious day, there are so many more that are done in the vast country that is India.
Makar Sankranti Celebrations Across India
Makar Sankranti is celebrated all throughout India in various ways and the cultural importance of this auspicious day is different from state to state. Every state celebrates and welcomes the new season of the harvest in their own way that is unique to them. Apart from other Hindu festivals, Makar Sankranti is on a fixed date and it means Capricorn transition. There is a Sankranti (transition) every month when the sun passes from one zodiac sign to the next, and this festival is especially popular in the Hindu calendar where it is the first Indian festival which falls in the new year. It is one of the major harvest festivals, which is celebrated on January 14 every year and is celebrated almost everywhere in the country in myriad cultural forms and different names. Every region in the country has its own way of celebrating it and there are innumerable ways based on the localization and culture and traditions.
Delhi And Haryana
In Uttar Pradesh, it is celebrated as kicheri where it is considered very important to have a bath on this day and masses of people are seen bathing in the Sangam at Prayagraj where the rivers Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswathi flow together. Delhi and Haryana and many neighbouring states consider Sakraat or Sankranti to be the main festival of the year. Churma of ghee, halwa and kheer are cooked especially on this day.
In Punjab, Makar Sankranti is called Lohri. December and January are the coldest months of the year in Punjab and huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankranti. Sweets, sugarcane and rice are thrown on the bonfires and friends and relatives gather together. It is celebrated as Maghi and they bathe in the early hours in a river. Hindus light lamps with sesame oil and it is supposed to give prosperity and drive away all sins. A mela is held at Sri Muktsar Sahib which commemorates a historical even in Sikh history. They dance their famous bhangra and then sit down and eat a sumptuous meal that is prepared specially for this occasion. It is also traditional to eat kheer which is a rice cooked in milk and sugarcane juice. Another tradition is to consume khichdi and jiggery.
The festival is a huge deal in the state of Rajasthan and is called Makar Sankrati or Sankrat here. It is celebrated with special sweets and traditional food like pheeni, til-paati, gajak, kheer, and much more. Amongst women of the region, there is a ritual followed where they gift 13 other women anything related to household items and it goes on. For a newly married woman, her first Sankranti is extremely special and of great significance and she is invited by her family members to a big feast together with her husband, and for others they have a feast together with their friends and relatives or those they hold dear and have a special meal called “Sankrant Bhoj”. Here everyone shares gifts of sweets or jaggery or small savoury things to needy ones. Another large part of this festival is the kite flying which is especially enjoyed by young people who have competitions trying to cut out each others’ kite strings.
Makar Sankranti is called Uttarayan in the Gujarati language and is a huge festival which goes on for about 2 days – January 14 and 15. These days are called Uttarayan and Vasi-Uttarayan, and it is the festival for kite flying here. Since it is a huge part of the festival, the kites in this state are made especially using light-weight paper and bamboo and are shaped to form a rhombus with a central spine and a single bow. The strong is usually made of abrasives to help cut others’ kites. The festival preparation begins all the way back in December and people start enjoying Uttarayan, they make Undhiyu which is a spicy baked mix of winter vegetables, and chikkis and various other special recipes made with sugar like substances and nuts or seeds. Thousands of people go out to fly their kites on both the days of this festival in all the major cities of Gujrat and they enjoy yelling out in joy as they cut each other’s kites in the air.
In Karnataka, this festival has adopted the name Suggi or Harvest festival for the farmers of the state. Girls wear new clothes and drop in for visits to close friends and relatives and offer a Sankranti offering in a plate. They exchange this with different families in a ritual called Ellu Birodhi. The plate usually contains sugar candy moulds with a piece of sugarcane. Here in Karnataka, the festival signifies the harvest of the season with sugarcane being predominant in the area. Various gift items including useful daily items, sweets and sugar cane are exchanged among women in the state.
Makar Sankranti Quotes
In Makar Sankranti, it is quite common to send each other quotes. These are usually wishing friends and family a merry festival or season and wishing them prosperity. Some of them are mentioned below:
- May this harvest season bring you prosperity. Let us celebrate together. May You Have A Very Warm & Joyous Sankranti! - Sending you warm greetings on the happy occasion of Makar Sankranti 2018. Have lots of fun on Makar Sankranti. Aapko Mubarak ho sankrant ka tyohar.
- Wishing you and your family a very “HAPPY MAKAR SANKRANTI”. - Our thoughts hold the power to build, bend or break our circumstances. Best Wishes for Makar Sankranti!
- May this Sankranti bring you and your spouse long life and happiness!
- On this Sankrant, may the light shine into your home and give you wedded bliss!
- Blessings and love to you and your loved ones on Sankranti! May your life shine as bright as the moon on a dark night.
- May the Goddess Laxmi shower you and your family with blessings on this auspicious day and the year to come!
- While you celebrate this Sankrant, may your life be filled with love, happiness and joy.
- May your life and spirits soar high like the kites this Makar Sankranti.
- As the sun sets, going on its northward journey, May you and your family have a very Happy Makar Sankranti.
- With great love, blessing and gaiety, Some rays of grace and hope, we wish you and your family, Happy Makar Sankranti 2019!
Gifts for Makar Sankranti
This festival is celebrated in different ways throughout the country, from Uttarayan or kite flying festival in Gujrat where there are colourful kites flying the skies from dusk to dawn, to Pongal in Tamil Nadu where it is celebrated as the conclusion of the harvest. You can celebrate this day with your loved ones by sending them gifts, where ever they may be. In Delhi and Haryana, the day is celebrated by a brother of a married woman visiting with a gift of warm clothing for her and her family, and women gift their in-laws in a ritual called Manana. In Goa, married women give each other household gifts.
Now gifts are symbolic where it signifies love and care and thankfulness for the receiver. Everyone loves receiving gifts, and the happiness of the receiver makes the giver happier. So all in all, the idea of giving gifts is a benefit to everyone.
Here is a few gift idea if you’re stumped and don’t know what to gift your special and loved ones to make them happy this Makar Sankranti. Nothing could be better than a gift to show them you’re thinking of them and love them with all your heart.
Gift of Variety
This gift has a combination and variety of healthy, sweet and salty. It contains 250 gm of soan papdi, 250 gm of almonds with 250 gm of cashews, and 200 gm of bikano badam lachha. It costs Rs. 1,899 on Ferns And Petals.
Ferns And Petals gives you a unique and special gift which will be well received by your loved ones this Makar Sankranti. This is a combo of dry fruits which is super healthy and a fun gift. It contains a cane basket with 100 gm of Almonds, and 100 gm of raisins, and 100 gm of cashews and a 100 gm of pistachios. This costs Rs. 1,099
Surya Madhubani Round Wall Clock
A clock is one of the most used pieces of Décor in a home. A trendy, as well as functional wall clock, is a must in every home. This is a 1 Chrome round wall clock with dimensions 31 x 4 cm and is of plastic or acrylic make and has a red colour. It costs Rs. 1,899 on Gift Cart. The Surya Madhubani work on the clock makes it a perfect gift for Makar Sankranti.
Turkish Motif Rectangle Tray
This is a 12 x 7.5 x 2 inch rectangular tray with decorative multicoloured designs in the Turkish decorative motif patterns. It has MDF and enamel coating and costs Rs. 1,749 on Gift Cart. The perfect tray to serve guests all the goodies that will be cooked up on Makar Sankranti. It can also be used as a decorative item and kept on a table along with some candles.
Delightful Healthy Twist
This Gift contains a variety of nuts and sweet, and chocolate with a small plant. It has 500 gm of almonds and 250 gm of cashews, with 500 gm of soan papdi and a box of 16 Ferrero Rocher chocolate. This together with a two layered Bamboo plant costs Rs. 2,895.
Kaju Barfi with Dry Fruit
Kaju Barfi is an Indian sweet made from cashew nuts and is rich in flavour and taste. It is eaten especially more in north India. This gift comes with 200 g of almonds, and 2 kg of Kaju Barfi. In addition to this, a greeting card is added, as per occasion. This costs Rs. 4,095 on Online Delivery.
Gifts Set of 20 Small Colourful Kites
This is a collection of multicoloured kites that come with the spool. The kites itself have metallic paper and is in the size – 22 x 6 inches. It weighs about 99.6 g and cannot be used by children under 5 years of age. This is a really fun gift to use at Makar Sankranti where kite flying is a part of the celebrations. This costs Rs. 240 on Amazon.
Gifts Set of 20 Colourful Kites with 400 gms Khajoor
This is a vegetarian Gift consisting of 20 beautiful kites in different colours, of rather fine quality. It comes with its string Spool and has dimensions 22x16 inches. This can be bought together with a box of Special Lohri Mithai called Khajoor of sizes small – 200 gms or medium – 400 gms, costing only Rs. 699 or Rs. 851 respectively.
Makar Sankranti, a Day to Celebrate
Makar Sankranti is a festival dedicated to the Sun god. It marks the transition of Sun into the zodiac sign Capricorn (Makar rashi) and this transition is called as Sankranti. The day holds special importance for spiritual practices and accordingly, people take a holy dip in rivers, especially Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri. It is also the harvest festival as during this period, crops are sown and the hard work in the field is complete, thus giving people the time to celebrate and rejoice. After the festival, the days grow longer and the nights shorter till the next equinox. The day is celebrated by flying kites, preparing and distributing sweets made of sesame seeds and meeting and greeting the dear ones.