Makar Sankranti: Significance, Background and Facts You Should Know

Makar Sankranti is one of the main festivals of the India. According to astrology, on the day of Makar Sankranti, the Sun enters from Sagittarius to Capricorn constellation . The entry of the Sun from one constellation to another is called Sankranti. Explore the significance of Makar Sankranti, it’s background, and facts you should know about it, in this post.

Makar Sankranti: The Festival and Significance

The Makar(Capricorn) Sankranti begins with the fire element and the Kark (Cancer) Sankranti with the water element. By this time, the Sun becomes Uttarayan. The Chanting and charity benefits the seekers in many folds, as this time helps them spiritually.

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Having immense spiritual and health benefits on this occassion, this is the day of massive significance for bathing in Ganga (Ganga Snana), charity and worshiping Suryadev(Sun God).

The festival of Makar Sankranti is also popular as Khichdi festival. Usually Makar Sankranti falls on 14-15 in the month of January.

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Makar Sankranti: Background and History

In legends, Sankranti killed a demon called Sankarasur. People celebrate the festival for different reasons in different parts of India. In some parts of India, the festival marks the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of the harvest season. In other parts of India, the festival marks the end of the month of Pausha and the beginning of the month of Magha. People associate the festival with the worship of the sun god, Surya, and believe that it brings good luck and prosperity

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People know Makar Sankranti by various names including Magh Bihu in Assam, Maghi Saaji in Himachal Pradesh, Maghi Sangrand in Punjab, Maghi Sangrand or Uttarain (Uttarayana) in Jammu, Sakrat in Haryana, Sakraat in Rajasthan, Sukarat in central India, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Uttarayana in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, Ghughuti in Uttarakhand, Dahi Chura in Bihar, Makar Sankranti in Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal (Poush Sankranti or Mokor Sonkranti), Uttar Pradesh (Khichidi Sankranti), Uttarakhand Uttarayani) or as simply, Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Makar Sankranti Specials: Kites, Sesame and Magh Mela

Indians enjoy Makar Sankranti in different styles and names across the country, and the food is no exception.

significance of Makar Sankranti, it's background, and facts

People enjoy a variety of traditional foods on this auspicious day. Some of the most popular dishes include:

  1. Til Laddoo: A signature sweet made with sesame seeds and jaggery.
  2. Gajak: A brittle sweet made with jaggery and peanuts.
  3. Makara Chaula: A dish made with fresh harvest of rice, jaggery, milk, banana, and sugarcane.
  4. Payesh: A South Indian relative of the North Indian Kheer, sweetened using jaggery instead of sugar.
  5. Puran Poli: A sweet paratha with a filling of moong dal and jaggery mixture.
  6. Khichdi: A staple dish prepared using moong dal and rice.
  7. Pinni: A Punjabi sweet made with wheat flour, ghee, and dry fruits.
  8. Undhiyu: A popular Gujarati dish made with a mix of vegetables like potato, brinjal, green beans, yam, peas, and raw bananas.
  9. Sakkar Pongal: A popular rice-based dish prepared using rice, moong dal, and jaggery.

Travelers witness the diversity in the Indian people and their way of living on this day.

Flying the Kites on Sankranti

Amidst the festivities of Makar Sankranti, the ancient art of kite flying seamlessly intertwines with the celebratory spirit across India. This annual jubilation, observed on the 14-15th of January, signifies the solar journey into the realm of Makar(Capricorn), heralding longer days and bidding farewell to the winter solstice.

The soaring kites, emblematic of the sun, become the heralds of triumph, embodying the eternal struggle of virtue over malevolence. These aero-crafts carry profound connotations of patriotism, liberty, and affection, endowing them with a captivating significance that resonates even with the younger populace.

Despite their seemingly mundane nature as mere textile constructs, kites wield a remarkable influence as potent symbols, particularly in the eyes of children.

Sesame seeds (Til) an integral part of the festival

Entwined within the cultural tapestry of Makar Sankranti revelries in India, sesame seeds assume a paramount role. According to sacred tenets, these seeds garnered divine benediction from Lord Yama, the deity presiding over the realm of mortality, earning them the epithet “seeds of immortality.

Across diverse regions, the pervasive use of sesame seeds unfolds during the festivities, finding versatile applications in culinary pursuits. Noteworthy is their contribution to the creation of delectable sweets such as til ke laddo, gajak, and til ki chikki.

Beyond the culinary realm, the significance of black sesame seeds extends to the performance of Tarpan. A ritual intricately designed to pay homage to departed ancestors. The sanctity of temples is graced with the offering of these ebony seeds. A gesture believed to serve as a protective shield against the adverse influences of Saturn or Rahu, as advised by age-old wisdom

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