What is Sankranti ?
The Holy Phase Of Transition - Makar Sankranti is celebrated as the end of the winter solstice making the days last longer than the nights. It's of great importance to farmers as it denotes the sowing of new crops and plantation. It's a huge harvest festival celebrated across India and all cultures in different, spectacular and colourful ways. In Hindus it is believed that any auspicious or sacred rituals and customs can be performed from this very day onwards.
Sankranti is celebrated with an array of names and rituals in distinct parts of India with quiet a few regional variations. For instance; Sankranti is known as 'Uttarayan' in the state of Gujarat, 'Pongal' in Tamil Nadu, 'Lohri' in Punjab and many more names in various parts of the country.
On this day the holy deity 'Mahishahsurmardini' set foot on earth to destroy 'Mahishahsur'. She did so after the sunset as her radiance would be too much to bear for any living being.
Hence, women (and now everyone) offer sesame seed and jaggery sweets commonly known as 'til ke laddoo' to everyone making themselves the protector of their family.
How is it celebrated ?
People light a bonfire during the say discarding old wooden furniture or things which are no longer of use. Rangoli is often seen being made by mostly women in front of their homes, made by flowers, coloured sand etc. Farmers pray and show honour to their cattle as they are a sign of prosperity and thank them for the year round assistance. It includes fun activities like kite flying, ox racing, cock fighting in some villages etc.
It's a day for the reunion of families where everyone gets together to celebrate this auspicious day. People exchange sweets made peanuts, jaggery, coconut, sesame and gift each other things like 'haldi-kumkum' that is dried turmeric powder and red turmeric powder or vermillion.
It also denotes the welcome of birds that migrate and have returned back from their winter sojourns . The importance of sesame is such cause it provides immense energy, keeps or body warm, gives oil and moisture to our body that must have been lost during the winters.
On this day people also celebrate the Sun God take dips in holy water, they weaṛ black as winter is at it's peak and black absorbs all the heat and keeps our body warm.
Makar Sankranti is hence a mark of happiness, prosperity, growth, peace, energy which has come after a 6 months period of darkness, sorry, gloom, ignorance and all sorts of negativity.
Light diyas with sesame oil and drive away all the sins.
'Til-gud ghiya, aani god-god bola'
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