MAKAR SANKRANTI is one of the most popular ancient festivals of Hindus. There has been no significant change in the way of celebrating the Makarsankranti festival for thousands of years.
Diversity can be seen in this festival due to local food and traditions, but this diversity makes this festival even more attractive and adds to its beauty.
(PIXABAY) FIREWOOD LOHRI CELIBRATION
Makar Sankranti is known as Lohri in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, and Haryana.
THE FESTIVAL OF LOHRI is celebrated a day before Makar Sankranti. It is a tradition to celebrate this festival in the open at night on the eve of Makar Sankranti. The family members sit together in a circle around the fire. At this time rewdi, peanuts, lava, etc. are eaten and local folk songs called Dulla Bhati are sung.
Makara Sankranti is known as Sankranti in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.
“Women celebrating Pongal festival in India”.
In Tamil Nadu, it is known as Pongal. Pongal is the main festival of Tamil Nadu state of South India. It marks the beginning of the Tamil New Year.
IMAGE : UNSPLASH
Making of the famous South Indian dish “Sakkarai Pongal” aka Sweet Pongal made with rice, jaggery, and other condiments to celebrate the Pongal Festival aka “Uzhavar Thirunaal”
On Pongal, there is a tradition of cleaning the entire house, offering dishes made from new crops to Lord Sun, and seeking his blessings.
It is also a festival of new crops, so the tools and animals used in agriculture are also worshiped on this day.
KHICHDI is A dish in South Asian cuisine made of rice and lentils.
In Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar, Makar Sankranti is also known as Khichdi, because, on this day after morning bath and donation, Khichdi is cooked for lunch. (KHICHDI is A dish in South Asian cuisine made of rice and lentils ). There is also a tradition of flying kites on this day all over central India.
Foods made with jaggery, lai (made by roasting paddy, millet, Lava etc.) chuda (Flattened rice,) sesame, etc. are consumed in this festival.
WAR OF KITES ~ KAI PO CHE
As mentioned earlier there is a tradition of kite flying on Makar Sankranti in the whole of Central India, but Gujarat has no match.
On Makarsankranti, kite flying is a sight to behold in the entire state of Gujarat. The whole sky is filled with colorful kites, and the environment echoes with one, and only one sound – Kai Po Che. When a person cuts off another person’s kite. It’s a victory shot.
As night falls, paper lanterns replace the kites. The whole sky is filled with light, and different types of lanterns are seen in the whole sky.
The International Kite Festival is also organized on this day on the banks of the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat , in this kite festival, people from all over the world participate. The kite festival runs for a week.
WHAT IS MEANT BY MAKAR SANKRANTI ?
The origin of the word Makar Sankranti is from the combination of two words Makar and Sankranti.
Makara means Capricorn and Sankranti means entering.
The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the day the Sun enters Capricorn.
In simple language, this day signifies the advent of the spring season and the end of the winter season.
People taking a dip in the holy Ganges at dawn on Makar Sankranti festival
Its ancient form is the same all over India. Like ancient times, even today people, on Makar Sankranti, bathe in holy rivers, and donate to the poor and needy.
This day is also a symbol of the new crops, so dishes made from the new crops are also cooked in every house, for this reason, it is also called the festival of crops.
WHY IS MAKAR SANKRANTI ALWAYS CELEBRATED ON JANUARY 14th? (WELL,IT WASN’T ALWAYS.)
In many ancient civilizations, there has been a tradition of depicting the Sun as a deity. Amazingly, both in the Greek and Hindu depictions, Surya(Sun) is shown as a human being riding a chariot. According to the Hindu religion, the chariot of Lord Surya is harnessed by seven horses, perhaps these seven horses represent the seven constituent colors that are present in the sunlight.
At present, Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14th January for years, so it is a common belief that the festival of Makar Sankranti falls on 14th January, which is incorrect.
According to the Hindu calendar, every year the entry of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn is delayed by 20 minutes, so the date of Makar Sankranti shifts forward by one day in 72 years.
According to Pandit Ganesh Mishra, astrologer of Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U),
Makar Sankranti was celebrated for the first time on January 14th in 1902.
Earlier in the 18th century, the festival of Makar Sankranti was celebrated on 12th and 13th January. At present, due to the leap year, its date falls on 15th January every fourth year. In this way, Makar Sankranti will be celebrated for the last time on January 14th in 2077. 900 years ago, Makar Sankranti was celebrated on January 1st.
The great Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang visited India during the reign of Harshavardhana. Around 627 to 643 CE, Hiuen Tsang lived in India. During this, he described the Makar Sankranti festival in Prayag.
According to Hiuen Tsang, there was great enthusiasm for the 75-day festival of Magha Mela, from the general public to King Harshavardhana. The festival of Magh Mela started on the auspicious day of Makarsankranti
MAGHA MELA PRAYAGRAJ :- Even today, on the banks of Sangam in Prayagraj, from the day of Makar Sankranti, a religious fair is organized for 45 days, which is known as Magh Mela.
The great emperor Harshavardhana also took a holy dip at the Sangam bank along with thousands of people and donated all the wealth of his treasury to the poor people. It is said that Harshavardhan donated all his wealth to the poor, even his clothes. This proves that taking a dip in the holy rivers and donating on Makar Sankranti is a tradition that has been going on for thousands of years.
Realizing the power of religion and culture
A man offering prayers after taking a bath in the holy waters of the Ganges.
Following are the holy cities, on the banks of the Ganges, where on the day of Makar Sankranti, the religious importance of donating after taking a bath is very high.
Rivers provide life to the entire creation with their water, so expressing respect towards them is an integral part of Hindu religious rituals.
Hindu women offering Ganga water to Lord Shiva after taking a dip in the holy Ganges at dawn on Makar Sankranti festival.
Just as Christianity binds the whole of Europe in one thread despite many differences in Europe, in the same way Sanatan Dharma binds the entire Aryavarta in a thread of unique unity. North Indian, South Indian, Punjabi, Marathi, sadhus, saints, and householders, all can be seen together entwined in the spirit of unity.
Tales of Hindu struggle
IMAGE BRITISH LIBRARY
Eve Of The Eclipse Of The Moon, 25th November 1825. “Benares Illustrated” JAMES PRINSEP
There is an ancient tradition of bathing in the holy Ganges in some ancient festivals of Hindus. On the eve of lunar eclipse, a huge crowd can be seen at Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi, performing rituals after bathing in the Ganges.
‘ Conjunctions of the planets, eclipses and Sankrant, or the Sun’s entrance into the zodiacal signs, are accounted the most auspicious moments for bathing in the Ganges…For two or three days previous to such an event, pilgrims and travelling parties…assemble in groups upon the terraces and balconies of the temples and houses near the river. Every vacant spot is put in requisition and hired out by the square foot…the scene bears more the character of a fair (mela)…At the eclipse of the 25th Nov. the crowd was unusually great, and no less than forty lives were lost in the press of bathers at the first glimpse of the moon’s obscured visage. Most of the figures in the view were drawn and finished on the spot…The smoke on the left hand points out the spot on which the dead are burned, a place dedicated to Vishnoo…In the crowd are seen a couple of Missionaries distributing tracts with zeal as ardent, and perhaps as unavailing as that of the poor Suttees themselves…’. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MANIKARNIKA GHAT PLEASE VISIT :- https://nithinks.com/2021/01/18/makar-sankranti-is-an-ancient-hindu-festival-or-the-burden-of-old-tradition/
When the temples of Hindus were being demolished, their religious places were being desecrated, then it was the Sanatani festivals that connected Hindus with their roots. Hindus threw off Islamic imperialism as soon as they got the chance to do so. It can be a matter of surprise for any person that even after facing Islamic imperialism for centuries, the majority of the country’s population is Sanatani.