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Makar Sankranti, also known as Makara Sankrānti (Sanskrit: मकर
सङ्क्रान्ति) or Maghi, is a festival day in the
Hindu calendar, in reference to deity
Surya (sun). It is observed each
year in January. It marks the first day of sun's transit into
the Makara (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter
solstice and the start of longer days.
Sankranti is one of the few ancient Indian festivals that has
been observed according to solar cycles, while most festivals are set
by the lunar cycle of the lunisolar
Hindu calendar. Being a
festival that celebrates the solar cycle, it almost always falls on
the same Gregorian date every year (January 14), except in some
years when the date shifts by a day for that year. The festivities
associated with Makar
Sankranti are known by various names such as
Maghi (preceded by Lohri) by north Indian Hindus and Sikhs, Makara
Sankranti (Pedda Pandaga) in
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Sukarat in
Magh Bihu by Assamese, and
Pongal by Tamils.
Sankranti is observed with social festivities such as colorful
decorations, rural children going house to house, singing and asking
for treats in some areas (or pocket money), melas (fairs), dances,
kite flying, bonfires and feasts. The Magha Mela, according to
Diana L. Eck (professor at Harvard University specializing in
Indology), is mentioned in the
Hindu epic (the Mahabharata), thus
placing this festival to be around 5,000 years old. Many go to
sacred rivers or lakes and bathe with thanksgiving to the sun.
Every twelve years, the Hindus observe Makar
Sankranti with one of the
world's largest mass pilgrimage, with an estimated 40 to 100 million
people attending the event. At this event, they say a
prayer to the sun and bathe at the Prayaga confluence of the River
Ganga and River Yamuna at the Kumbha Mela, a tradition attributed
to Adi Shankaracharya.
3 Nomenclature and regional names
4 Regional variations
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Bihar and Jharkhand
4.4 Delhi and Haryana
4.7 Himachal Pradesh
4.8 Karnataka(ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ )
Rajasthan and Malwa (Western Madhya Pradesh)
4.15 Tamil Nadu
4.16 Uttar Pradesh
4.17 West Bengal
5 Outside India
5.4 Sri Lanka
6 See also
8 External links
Sankranti is set by the solar cycle of the
calendar, and is observed on a day which usually falls on 14 January
of Gregorian calendar, but sometimes 15 January. It
signifies the arrival of longer days. Makar
Sankranti falls in the
Hindu calendar solar month of Makara, and lunar month of Magha (the
festival is also called Magha
Sankranti or Magha festival in parts of
India). It marks the end of the month with winter solstice for
India and the longest night of the year, a month that is called Pausha
in lunar calendar and Dhanu in the solar calendar in the Vikrami
system. The festival celebrates the first month with consistently
There are two different systems to calculate the Makara Sankranti
date: nirayana (without adjusting for precession of equinoxes,
sidereal) and sayana (with adjustment, tropical). The January 14 date
is based on the nirayana system, while the sayana system typically
computes to about December 23, per most Siddhanta texts for Hindu
The festival is dedicated to the
Hindu sun god, Surya. This
Surya is traceable to the Vedic texts, particularly
the Gayatri Mantra, a sacred hymn of
Hinduism found in its scripture
named the Rigveda. The festival also marks the beginning of a six
months auspicious period for Hindus known as
Sankranti is regarded as important for spiritual practices and
accordingly, people take a holy dip in rivers, especially Ganga,
Krishna and Kaveri. The bathing is believed to
result in merit or absolution of past sins. They also pray to the sun
and thank for their successes and prosperity. A shared cultural
practices found amongst Hindus of various parts of
India is making
sticky, bound sweets particularly from sesame (til) and a sugar base
such as jaggery (gud, gur). This type of sweet is a symbolism for
being together in peace and joyfulness, despite the uniqueness and
differences between individuals. For most parts of India, this
period is a part of early stages of the Rabi crop and agricultural
cycle, where crops have been sown and the hard work in the fields is
mostly over. The time thus signifies a period of socializing and
families enjoying each other's company, taking care of the cattle, and
celebrating around bonfires, in
Maharashtra the festival is celebrated
by flying kites.
Sankranti is an important pan-Indian solar festival, known by
different names though observed on the same date, sometimes for
multiple dates around the Makar Sankranti. It is known as Makara
Sankranti in Karnataka,
Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Pedda Panduga in Andhra
Magh Bihu in Assam, Magha
Mela in parts of central and north
India, as Makar
Sankranti in the west, and by other names.
Nomenclature and regional names
A night lit up on Makar
Uttarayana Festival with Kites and
Makara or Makar
Sankranti is celebrated in many parts of Indian
subcontinent with some regional variations. It is known by different
names and celebrated with different customs in different parts of the
Suggi Habba, Makara Sankramana, Makara Sankranthi : Karnataka
Makara Sankranthi: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala
Makar Sankranti: Chhattisgarh, Goa, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya
Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar
West Bengal and Jammu
Thai Pongal, Uzhavar Thirunal: Tamil Nadu
Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu: Assam
Shishur Saenkraat: Kashmir Valley
Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar
Poush Sangkranti: West Bengal
Tila Sakrait: Mithila
In other countries too the day is celebrated by Hindus, but under
different names and in different ways.
Maghe Sankranti or Maghi- /
Bangladesh: Shakrain/ Poush Sangkranti
Pakistan (Sindh): Tirmoori
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It is celebrated differently across the Indian subcontinent. Many
people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar
Prayag and pray to the
Sun God (Surya). It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of India
Pongal in Tamil Nadu), and in Punjab as
Kite flying is a tradition of Makar
Sankranti in many parts of India.
Many melas or fairs are held on Makar
Sankranti the most famous being
the Kumbha Mela, held every 12 years at one of four holy locations,
Ujjain and Nashik. The Magha Mela
Mela held annually at Prayag) and the
(held at the head of the Ganges River, where it flows into the Bay of
Mela in Odisha. Tusu
Mela also called as Tusu Porab is
celebrated in many parts of
Jharkhand and West Bengal. Poush
an annual fair and festival that takes place in Santiniketan, in
Birbhum District of West Bengal.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Sankranti (మకర సంక్రాంతి), is
celebrated for four days in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana:
Day 1 – Bhoghi (భోగి) (Andhra Pradesh,
Day 2 – Makara
సంక్రాంతి-పెద్ద పండుగ), the main
Day 3 – Kanuma (కనుమ) (
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana)
Day 4 — Mukkanuma (
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana)
Special bhojanam (feast) are a part of Andhra tradition (Andhra
Bhogi Flames in Andhra Pradesh
The day preceding Makara
Sankranti is called Bhoghi (భోగి).
This is when people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on
new things causing change or transformation. At dawn, people light a
bonfire with logs of wood, other solid fuels and wooden furniture
that are no longer useful.
Makara Sankranti(మకర సంక్రాంతి)
The second day is Makara Sankranti. People wear new clothes, pray to
God, and make offerings of traditional food to ancestors who have
died. They also make beautiful and ornate drawings and patterns on the
ground with chalk or flour, called "Rangoli" or "muggu" in Telugu, in
front of their homes. These drawings are decorated with flowers,
colours and small, hand-pressed piles of cow dung, called "gobbemma"
For this festival all families prepare Chakinalu, Nuvvula Appalu, Gare
Appalu or Katte Appalu or karam appalu, Madugulu (Jantikalu), Bellam
Appalu, kudumulu, Ariselu, Appalu (a sweet made of jaggery and rice
flour) dappalam (a dish made with pumpkin and other vegetables) and
make an offering to God.
Colorful floor artwork (muggulu) decorate entrances and streets on
On the third day, Kanuma (కనుమ) is celebrated. Kanuma is very
intimate to the hearts of farmers because it is the day for praying
and showcasing their cattle with honor. Cattle are the symbolic
indication of prosperity. On the day after Makara Sankranti, the
animal kingdom is remembered and, in particular, cows. Girls feed the
animals, birds and fish as a symbol of sharing.
The fourth day is called Mukkanuma (ముక్కనుమ) which is
popular among the non-vegetarians of the society. On this day, farmers
offer prayers to the elements (like soil, rain, fire for helping the
harvest) and the (village) goddesses with their gifts which sometimes
(and these days mainly) include animals. People in
Coastal Andhra do not eat any meat (or fish) during the first three
days of the festival and do so only on the day of Mukkanuma. Kanuma,
Mukkanuma and the day following Mukkanuma call for celebrations with
union of families, friends, relatives. People play with kites and the
sky is filled with beautiful kites.
Another notable feature of the festival in
Telangana and Andhra
Pradesh is the Haridasu who goes early in the morning around with a
colourfully dressed cow, singing songs of Lord
Vishnu (Hari) hence the
name Haridasu (servant of Hari). It is a custom that he should not
talk to anyone and only sing songs of Lord
Vishnu when he goes to
A Buffalo fight held at Ranthali, in Nagaon District of Assam, on the
occasion of Magh bihu.
Magh Bihu (মাঘ বিহু) (also called Bhogali Bihu
(ভোগালী বিহু) (
Bihu of eating foods and enjoyment)
or Maghar Domahi (মাঘৰ দোমাহী) is a harvest
festival celebrated in Assam, India, which marks the end of harvesting
season in the month of
Maagha (January–February). It is the
Assam celebration of Makar Sankranti, with feasting lasting for a
The festival is marked by feasts and bonfires. Young people erect
makeshift huts, known as Meji and Bhelaghar, from bamboo, leaves and
thatch, and in Bhelaghar they eat the food prepared for the feast, and
then burn the huts the next morning. The celebrations also feature
traditional Assamese games such as tekeli bhonga (pot-breaking) and
Magh Bihu celebrations start on the last day of
the previous month, the month of "Pooh", usually the 29th of Pooh and
usually the 14th of January, and is the only day of
Magh Bihu in
modern times (earlier, the festival would last for the whole month of
Magh, and so the name Magh Bihu). The night before is "Uruka"
(28th of Pooh), when people gather around a bonfire, cook dinner, and
Magh Bihu people of
Assam make cakes of rice with various names
such as Shunga Pitha, Til
Pitha etc. and some other sweets of coconut
called Laru or Laskara.
Bihar and Jharkhand
A traditional sweet sesame-jaggery based ladoo exchanged and eaten on
Bihar and Jharkhand, the festival is celebrated on 14–15 January.
On 14 January, it is celebrated as Makar
Sankranti or Sakraat or
Khichdi (in local dialects). As in other parts of country, people take
baths in rivers and ponds and feast upon seasonal delicacies as a
celebration of good harvest. The delicacies include chura, gur
(jaggery), sweets made of til (sesame seeds) such as tilgul, tilwa,
maska, etc., curd, milk and seasonal vegetables.
Kite flying festivals
are organised, albeit on a small scale.
On 15 January, it is celebrated as Makraat (in some parts of the
state) when people relish special khichdi (dal-rice replete with
cauliflower, peas and potatoes).
The festival is one of the most important. People start their day by
worshiping and putting til (sesame seeds) into fire followed by eating
"dahi-chuda", a dish made of beaten rice (chuda or poha, in Hindi, or
avalakki, in Kannada) served with a larger serving of dahi (curd),
with cooked kohada (red pumpkin) that is prepared specially with sugar
and salt but no water. The meal is generally accompanied by tilkut and
lai (laddu made of til, chuda and rice). The festive meal is
traditionally made by women in groups. Since the meal is heavy, lunch
is generally skipped on the day and the time is, instead, spent on
socializing and participating in kite flying festivals.
At night a special khichdi is made and served with its four
traditional companions, "char yaar" (four friends) — chokha (roasted
vegetable), papad, ghee and achaar. Since such a rich khichdi is
generally made on this festival, the festival is often colloquially
referred to as "Khichdi".
Delhi and Haryana
Kayastha community which have been building blocks of Delhi today and
Other neighbouring rural communities like Yadavs, Jats which mainly
Haryana and Punjab consider Sakraat or
Sankranti to be a
main festival of the year. Churma of ghee, halwa and kheer are cooked
specially in Jats and Yadavs homes on this day. One brother of every
married woman visits her home with a gift of some warm clothing for
her and her husband's family. It is called "Sidha". Women used to give
a gift to their in-laws, and this rituals called "Manana". The
recipient will sit in a haweli (main palace where men sit together and
share hookka). Women go to haweli to sing folk songs and give gifts.
Known as Sankrant in
Goa and like in the rest of the country, people
distribute sweets in the form of granules of sugar-coated till pulses
among family members and friends, with the words,Till gull gheiat,
godd uloiat, meaning Eat seasame and jaggery and sweeten your talk.
Kumkum festival begins on Makar Sankranti,married women
celebrate the festival till Ratha Saptami.Married women visit each
other's homes where the women apply Halad(turmeric) and Kumkum
(vermilion) to the foreheads of other women and put flowers in their
hair,and offer them household gifts. Newly married women offer five
sunghat or small clay pots with black beaded threads tied around
them,to the deity. These pots are filled with newly harvested food
grains and are offered with betel leaves and areca nut. Its
observance takes place on a rather subdued note,unlike major festivals
of the region like Ganesh chaturthi.
Main article: International
Kite Festival in
Gujarat – Uttarayan
Uttarayan, as Makar
Sankranti is called in Gujarati, is a major
festival in the state of Gujarat which lasts for two days.
14 January is Uttarayan
15 January is Vasi-
Uttarayan (Stale Uttarayan).
Gujarati people keenly await this festival to fly kites, called
'patang'. Kites for
Uttarayan are made of special light-weight paper
and bamboo and are mostly rhombus shaped with central spine and a
single bow. The string often contains abrasives to cut down other
In Gujarat, from December through to Makar Sankranti, people start
Undhiyu (spicy, baked mix of winter vegetables)
and chikkis (made from til (sesame seeds), peanuts and jaggery) are
the special festival recipes savoured on this day. The
community in western regions of India, that is also found in
southeastern parts of Pakistan, celebrate Makar
Sankranti as Tirmoori.
On this day, parents sending sweet dishes to their daughters.
In the major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, and
Jamnagar the skies appear filled with thousands upon thousands of
kites as people enjoy two full days of
Uttarayan on their terraces.
When people cut any kites they yell words like "kaypo chhe", "e
lapet","jaay jaay","phirki vet phirki" and "lapet lapet" in Gujarati.
In Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh, Makar
Sankranti is known as
Magha Saaji. Saaji is the Pahari word for Sakranti, start of the new
month. Hence this day marks the start of the month of Magha.
Hindu religious texts, on the day of Uttarayani the sun
enters the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn), i.e., from this day
onwards the sun becomes 'Uttarayan' or it starts moving to the north.
It is said that from this day, which signals a change of season, the
migratory birds start returning to the hills. On Magha Saaja people
wake up early in the morning and take ceremonial dips and shower in
the springs or baolis. In the daytime people visit their neighbours
and together enjoy khichdi with ghee and chaas and give it in charity
at temples. Festival culminates with singing and Naati (folk dance).
Mysuru Decorated Cows. January 2017
This is the Suggi (ಸುಗ್ಗಿ) or harvest festival for farmers
of Karnataka. On this auspicious day, girls wear new clothes to visit
near and dear ones with a
Sankranti offering in a plate and exchange
the same with other families. This ritual is called "Ellu Birodhu."
Here the plate would normally contain "Ellu" (white sesame seeds)
mixed with fried groundnuts, neatly cut dry coconut and fine cut bella
(jaggery). The mixture is called "Ellu-Bella" (ಎಳ್ಳು
ಬೆಲ್ಲ). The plate contains shaped sugar candy moulds
(Sakkare Acchu, ಸಕ್ಕರೆ ಅಚ್ಚು) with a piece of
sugarcane. There is a saying in Kannada "ellu bella thindu olle
maathadi" that translates to 'eat the mixture of sesame seeds and
jaggery and speak only good.' This festival signifies the harvest of
the season, since sugarcane is predominant in these parts. Ellu Bella,
Ellu Unde, bananas, sugarcane, red berries, haldi and kumkum and small
gift items useful in everyday lives are often exchanged among women in
Feast of Makar Sankranti
In some parts of Karnataka, a newly married woman is required to give
away bananas for five years to married women (muthaidhe/sumangali)
from the first year of her marriage and increase the number of bananas
in multiples of five. There is also a tradition of some households
giving away red berries "Yalchi Kai" with the above. In north
Karnataka, kite flying with community members is a tradition. Drawing
rangoli in groups is another popular event among women during
An important ritual is display of cows and bulls in colourful costumes
in an open field. Cows are decorated for the occasion and taken on a
procession. They are also made to cross a fire. This ritual is common
Karnataka and is called "Kichchu Haayisuvudu."
Sankranti is celebrated in
Sabarimala where the Makara
Jyothi is visible followed by the
In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Makar
Sankranti is celebrated
with great gusto. The Uttarayani fair is held in the month of January
every year in Bageshwar The religious ritual of the fair
consists in bathing before daybreak at the confluence of Saryu and
Gomati. After Bathing, an offering of water to Lord Shiva
Bagnath Temple is essential. Those who are more
religiously disposed, continue this practice for three days in
succession, which is known as "Trimaghi".
According to Indian religious texts, on the day of Uttarayani also
called Ghughuti (घुघुति) in Kumaon, the sun enters the
Zodiacal sign of 'Makara' (Capricon), i.e. from this day onwards the
sun becomes 'Uttarayan' or it starts moving to the north. It is said
that from this day, which signals a change of season, the migratory
birds start returning to the hills. On Makar
Sankranti people give
Khichadi (a mixture of pulses and rice) in charity, take ceremonial
dips in holy rivers, participate in the Uttarayani fairs and celebrate
the festival of Ghughutia or Kale Kauva. During the festival of Kale
Kauva (literal translation 'black crow') people make sweetmeats out of
sweetened flour (flour and gur) deep fried in ghee, shape them in
shapes such as drums, pomegranates, knives, and swords. These are fed
to crows and other birds.
Multicolored sugar halwa surrounded by til-gul (sesame and jaggery)
ladoos. These exchanged and eaten on Makar
Sankranti in Maharashtra
Maharashtra on Makar
संक्रान्ति) day people exchange multicoloured
halwa (sugar granules coated in sugar syrup) and til-gul laadoo
(sweetmeats made from sesame seeds and jaggery). Gulachi poli/puran
poli (गुळाची पोळी / पुरण पोळी)
(flat bread stuffed with soft/shredded jaggery mixed with toasted,
ground til [white sesame seeds]) and some gram flour, which has been
toasted to golden in pure ghee, are offered for lunch. While
exchanging til-gul as tokens of goodwill people greet each other with
the words "तिळगुळ घ्या, आणि
गोड-गोड बोला / til-gul ghyaa, aani goad-goad
bolaa" meaning ‘Accept this til-gul (sweet) and utter sweet
words’. The underlying thought in the exchange of til-gul is to
forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities and resolve to speak
sweetly and remain friends.
The festival is known as Makar
Sankranti in Odisha where people
prepare makar chaula (Odia: ମକର ଚାଉଳ): uncooked newly
harvested rice, banana, coconut, jaggery, sesame, rasagola, Khai/Liaa
and chhena puddings for naivedya to gods and goddesses. The
withdrawing winter entails a change in food habits and intake of
nourishing and rich food. Therefore, this festival holds traditional
cultural significance. It is astronomically important for devotees who
worship the sun god at the great Konark temple with fervour and
enthusiasm as the sun starts its annual swing northwards.
According to various Indian calendars, the Sun's movement changes and
the days from this day onwards become lengthier and warmer and so the
Sun-God is worshiped on this day as a great benefactor. Many
individuals at the start of the day perform a ritual bath while
Mela (Fun fair) is observed at Dhabaleswar in
Cuttack, Hatakeshwar at
Atri in Khordha, Makara Muni temple in
Balasore and near deities in each district of Odisha. In
rituals are carried out at the temple of Lord Jagannath. In
Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Kalahandi, Koraput and Sundargarh where the
tribal population is greater, the festival is celebrated with great
joy. They celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm, singing,
dancing and generally having an enjoyable time. This Makara Sankranti
celebration is next to the Odia traditional new year Maha Vishuva
Sankranti which falls in mid April. Tribal groups celebrate with
traditional dancing, eating their particular dishes sitting together,
and by lighting bonfires.
It is the only Indian festival celebrated on a fixed day of the
Gregorian calendar. Besides the usual rituals, people of Orissa,
especially Western Orissa, reaffirm the strength of the bond of
friendship with their best friends during this occasion. The practice
is called ‘Makar Basma’. After a man binds himself with one of his
friends in the shackles of friendship during Makar Sankranti,
afterwards he addresses the other as ‘Maharshad’ or ‘Marsad’;
if two women tie the friendship lace on each other’s wrist, they
call each other ‘Makara’. They don’t utter each other’s name.
This goes on for one full year till the next Makar Sankranti. In
Eastern Orissa, on many occasions, two friends feed each other
‘Mahaprasad’, the offering made in the famous
Jagannath temple of
Puri, and continue the friendship for at least one year. Orissa Post
talks to some women about their experiences when they tied the
friendship knot on Makar Sankranti.
Main article: Maghi
In Punjab, Makar
Sankranti is celebrated as
Maghi which is a religious
and cultural festival. Bathing in a river in the early hours on Maghi
is important. Hindus light lamps with sesame oil as this is supposed
to give prosperity and drive away all sins. A major mela is held at
Sri Muktsar Sahib
Sri Muktsar Sahib on
Maghi which commemorates a historical event in
Culturally, people dance their famous "bhangra". They then sit down
and eat the sumptuous food that is specially prepared for the
occasion. It is traditional to eat "kheer", rice cooked in milk and
sugarcane juice. It is also traditional to consume khichdi and
jaggery. December and January are the coldest months of the year in
Maghi represents the change of the season to warmer
temperatures and increase in daylight.
Maghi fairs are held in many
Rajasthan and Malwa (Western Madhya Pradesh)
"Makar Sankrati" or "Sankrat" in the Rajasthani language is one of
the major festivals in the state of Rajasthan. The day is celebrated
with special Rajasthani delicacies and sweets such as pheeni (either
with sweet milk or sugar syrup dipped), til-paati, gajak, kheer,
ghevar, pakodi, puwa, and til-laddoo.
Specially, the women of this region observe a ritual in which they
give any type of object (related to household, make-up or food) to 13
married women. The first
Sankranti experienced by a married woman is
of significance as she is invited by her parents and brothers to their
houses with her husband for a big feast. People invite friends and
relatives (specially their sisters and daughters) to their home for
special festival meals (called as "Sankrant Bhoj"). People give out
many kind of small gifts such as til-gud (jaggery), fruits, dry
khichadi, etc. to Brahmins or the needy ones.
Kite flying is traditionally observed as a part of this festival.
On this occasion the sky in Jaipur and Hadoti regions is filled with
kites, and youngsters engage in contests trying to cut each other's
Main article: Thai Pongal
The Tamil festival of
Pongal coincides with Makar Sankranti, and
It is a four-day festival in Tamil Nadu:
Day 1: Bhogi Pandigai (போகி பண்டிகை)
Thai Pongal (தை பொங்கல்)
Day 3: Maattu
Pongal (மாட்டுப் பொங்கல்)
Day 4: Kaanum
Pongal (காணும் பொங்கல்)
The festival is celebrated four days from the last day of the Tamil
month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai.
The first day of festival is Bhogi (போகி). It is celebrated on
the last day of Margazshi by throwing away and destroying old
clothes and materials, by setting them on fire, marking the end of the
old and the emergence of the new. In villages there will be a simple
ceremony of "Kappu Kattu" (kappu means secure) will be done. The
'neem' leaves are kept along the walls and roof of the houses. This is
to eliminate evil forces.
Hindu girl in traditional dress for Pongal.
The second day of festival is
Thai Pongal or simply Pongal. It is the
main day of the festival, falling on the first day of the Tamil month
Thai which starts with the solar cycle when sun starts moving through
the summer solstice. It is celebrated by boiling rice with fresh milk
and jaggery in new pots, which are later topped with brown sugar,
cashew nuts and raisins early in the morning and allowing it to boil
over the vessel. This tradition gives
Pongal its name. The moment the
rice boils over and bubbles out of the vessel, the tradition is to
shout "பொங்கலோ பொங்கல் (Ponggalo
Ponggal)!" and blow the sangu (a conch), a custom practised to
announce it was going to be a year blessed with good tidings. Then new
boiled rice is offered to the Sun god during sunrise, as a prayer
which symbolises thanks to the sun for providing prosperity. It is
later served to the people in the house for the ceremony. People
prepare savouries and sweets such as vadai, murukku, payasam and visit
each other and exchange greetings.
Jallikattu, or "taming the bull", is an ancient
The third day of festival is Maattu
பொங்கல்). It is for offering thanks to cattle, as they
help farmers in agriculture. On this day the cattle are decorated with
paint, flowers and bells. They are allowed to roam free and fed sweet
rice and sugar cane. Some people decorate the horns with gold or other
metallic covers. In some places, Jallikattu, or taming the wild bull
contest, is the main event of this day and this is mostly seen in the
The fourth day of the festival is Kaanum
பொங்கல்: the word kaanum means "to view"). During this
day people visit their relatives, friends to enjoy the festive season.
It is a day to thank relatives and friends for their support in the
harvest. It started as a farmers festival, called as Uzhavar Thirunaal
Kolam (கோலம்) decorations are made in front of the
Thai Pongal festival.
Mela at Prayaga Sangam, the world's largest pilgrimage
gathering every 12 years, is a Makar Sankranti-related event.
The festival is known as Kicheri in
Uttar Pradesh and involves ritual
bathing. Over two million people gather at their respective sacred
places for this holy bathing such as
Varanasi in Uttar
Haridwar in Uttarakhand. If they cannot go in river
then they bathe at home. There is a compulsion to bathe in the morning
while fasting; first they bathe then they eat sweets such as til ladoo
and gud laddo (known as tillava in Bhojpuri). At some places new
clothes are worn on this day.
Kite flying is an inevitable part of the festival in Uttar
Pradesh, as with many states of
India such as
Maharashtra. Like other places in India, the references to sweets, til
(sesame seeds) and gud (jaggery) are found in the songs sung on this
Meethe Gur me mil gaya Til,
Udi Patang aur khil gaye Dil,
Jeevan me bani rahe Sukh aur Shanti,
Mubarak ho aapko Makar-Sankranti.
A feast at Poush Sankranti
In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known as Poush Sankranti named
after the Bengali month in which it falls (last date of that month),
is celebrated as a harvest festival Poush Parbon (Bengali: পৌষ
পার্বণ). (It falls on 14 January on the Western calendar.)
The freshly harvested paddy and the date palm syrup in the form of
Khejurer Gur (Bengali: খেজুরের গুড়)and Patali
(Bengali: পাটালি ) is used in the preparation of a variety
of traditional Bengali sweets made with rice flour, coconut, milk and
'khejurer gur' (date palm jaggery) and known as 'Pitha' (Bengali:
পিঠে). All sections of society participate in a three-day
festival that begins on the day before
Sankranti and ends on the day
after. The Goddess
Lakshmi is usually worshipped on the day of
In the Himalayan regions of Darjeeling, the festival is as known as
Magey Sakrati. It is distinctly associated with the worship of Lord
Shiva. Traditionally, people bathe at sunrise and then commence their
pooja. Elsewhere, many people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar
(the point where the river Ganges meets the Bay of Bengal). Ganga
Sagar falls in West Bengal.
In the day of Makar
Dharma is worshiped. And
khichurhi or rice is offered to the God as
Bhog (ভোগ). The day
Sankranti the first day in the month Magh from Bengali
calendar The Goddess Laxmi devi is worshiped. It is called Baharlaxmi
Puja as the idol is worshiped in an open place.
The festival is known as Maghe Sakranti by Hindus in Nepal, and above
is a traditional basket dance festivity to celebrate it.
Main article: Shakrain
Shakrain is an annual celebration of winter in Bangladesh, observed
with the flying of kites.
Main article: Maghe Sankranti
Maghe Sankranti (Nepali and Maithili: माघे
घ्यःचाकु संल्हु) is a Nepalese festival
observed on the first of Magh in the
Hindu Solar Nepali
calendar (about 14 January), bringing an end to the ill-omened month
of Poush when all religious ceremonies are forbidden. On this day, the
sun is believed to leave its southernmost position and begin its
Maghe Sankranti is observed by Nepalis
Hindu by bathing at the
confluence of rivers and praying to the sun. The popular bathing
sites include Sankhamul on the
Bagmati river near Patan; in the
Gandaki/Narayani river basin at Triveni near the Indian border;
Devghat near Chitwan Valley and Ridi on the Kaligandaki; and in the
Koshi River basin at Dolalghat on the Sun Koshi. On Maghe Sankranti
Cha puja and on Bhadra Purnima, some Nepalis worship perform Nara puja
for the community's protection from evil. Festive foods like
laddoo, ghee and sweet potatoes are distributed to relatives and
friends. The mother of each household wishes good health to all family
On this festive day, Sindhi parents send ladoos and chiki (Laaee) made
of sesame seeds to their married daughters. The Sindhi community in
India too celebrate Makar
Sankranti as Tirmoori which involves parents
sending sweet dishes to their daughters.
On this day, the Sri Lanka Tamil farmers honor the Sun God
Suriyapakaran. This happens when the sun enters the zodiac sign of
Capricorn (Makara). The
Thai Pongal festival is celebrated in
mid-January, or the Tamil month of Thai, to coincide with the rice
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Pongal Sri Lanka
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