14 January 2014

Greetings on Makar Sankranti


Makar Sankranti, the  harvest festival also known as Pongal

Today is Makar Sankranti. Greetings to all on this festival. Makara Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasions for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of India and Nepal in a myriad of cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour, and gaiety. It is a harvest festival.


Makara means Capricorn Zodiac Sign and Sankranti means transition of the Sun from one zodiac sign to another. Thus Makar Sankranti is the day that marks the transition of the Sun into Makara rashi (Capricorn) on its celestial path.  The day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India.Makara Sankranti is a solar event making it perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same date on Gregorian calender every year: 14 January, with some exceptions, when the festival is celebrated on 13 January or 15 January .

In Tamil Nadu, the festival is celebrated as Pongal where people cook sweet rice and other delicacies and shout, 'Pongal'. Whereas, in Punjab, it is called 'Lohri' where music, dance and prayers take the center-stage with fervour and dedication. Karnataka does away with the prefix and calls the festival 'Sankranti' or 'Shankranti'. The festival is celebrated joyously by sharing sweets and neem-leave-jaggery mixture powdered together. This is exchanged among family and friends to mark the auspicious beginning of the year.

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Kite flying is another aspect of the festival that marks the beginning of a new year. The message intended is, "Rise higher like the kite'. But, there are many injuries due to kite-flying as birds get entangled in the plastic Maanja. So, the everyone should restrict kite-flying and be sensitive towards the avian species.

As bulls signify the harvest season, they are treated with respect and decorated with garlands and prayed to. Major cattle fairs are held at different places where many camels, bullocks and horses are sold and purchased by animal lovers.

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