Makar Sankranti is one of India’s most auspicious Hindu holy festivals. This festival is celebrated with much zeal and fervor in various parts of India.Celebrated on January 15, Makar Sankranti holds different historical importance and is celebrated with different names in different states.
This festival helps to make the brotherhood connect as well as raise the people’s spirit of unity and bring peace to the planet. It is noteworthy that the majestic Sun-God of Hindus begins ascendancy on the day of Makar Sankranti
Let’s have a look how it is celebrated in different parts of India:
Tamil Nadu – Pongal / Thai Pongal
Pongal is a four-day festival in Tamil Nadu. The day 1 is bhogi People destroy and burn old clothes for the emergence of new future. The day 2 is Thai Pongal, the main festival where the tradition of rice prevails. The rice is boiled and offered to the sun god. Day 3 is Maattu pongal were Cattles are decorated and worshipped as a sign of thanks for their role in agricultural processes. Day 4 is Kaanum Pongal – People wear new clothes and visit relatives, exchange gifts.
The typical celebration of the ‘Makara Sankranti’ in Andhra Pradesh takes place for three days. People dress themselves up as characters from mythology. The first day, that is Bhogi Panduga , people burn all old articles. The second day, Pedda Panduga is the Sankranti day when the big festival is held. People are dressed in new clothes and pray to God. There are also feasts arranged for the guests. Cock fighting was a favorite game during the Makara Sankranti. Third day, is Kanuma Panduga is the day for having meet after the excessive sweets.
Karnataka – Suggi
This is Karnataka’s Suggi or harvest festival for farmers. In Karnataka, Ellu Bella, Ellu Unde, bananas, sugarcane, red berries, haldi and kumkum and small gift items that are useful in daily life are often exchanged among women.Kite flight with community members in north Karnataka is a tradition. Another popular event among women during Sankranti is the drawing of rangoli in groups.The show of cows and bulls in colorful costumes in an open field is an important tradition. For the occasion, the cows are dressed and brought on a procession. They’re made to cross a spark as well. In rural Karnataka this ritual is traditional and is called “Kichchu Haayisuvudu.”
Makara Sankranti is celebrated in Kerala, the 40 days anushthana by the devotees of Ayyappa ends on this day in Sabarimala where the Makara Jyothi is visible followed by the Makaravilakku with a big festival in Kerala. Pongal is celebrated for four days as Bhogi Pongal, Thai Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kanum Pongal.
Maharashtra – Makar Sankranti
Pongal is traditionally celebrated in Maharashtra for three days.People exchange sweets, greet each other with good wishes and are hoping to forget each other’s animosity and forgive the past and come together as a family.Women make wearing black clothes a feature.Wearing black contributes to the warmth of the body as Sankranti falls in the winter season. This is an essential reason for wearing black.In Maharashtra, similar to Andhra Pradesh Makar Sankaranti, is normally a three-day festival.
Punjab – Lohri
Punjab people celebrate Lohri by lighting bonfire, adoring it, wearing new clothing, distributing sweets, and eating rewri, gajjak, pop maize, and bajre ki khichdi. This festival signals the winter crop harvest.
Rajasthan – Sankranti
One of the biggest festivals in Rajasthan state is “Makar Sankrati” or “Sankrat ” in the Rajasthan language. The day is celebrated with special delicacies.The women of this region in particular observe a ritual in which they give to 13 married women any kind of object (related to household, make-up or food). The first Sankranti encountered by a married woman is significant because she is invited to a big feast with her husband by her parents and brothers to their homes.Kite flying is usually practiced as part of this festival. On this day, the sky in the regions of Jaipur and Hadoti is packed with kites and young people are vying to cut each other’s strings.
Gujarat – Uttarayan
In Gujarati it is called Uttarayan and it lasts two days.The word comes from the course the sun takes as it moves along the northern sky.It is celebrated on the 15th and 16th of January, where Uttarayan is 15 and Vasi Uttarayan is 16.The major cities are seen full of colorful kites and their skies. Citizens also enjoy chikkis, dried fruits, sesame-based sweets.
Uttar Pradesh – Kicheri
This festival is celebrated with great joy in Uttar Pradesh and involves traditional bathing and adoring God.For this holy bathing such as Allahabad and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Haridwar in Uttarakhand, over two million people gather in their respective sacred places.During this time, Kumbh Mela, the largest religious festival in the world will be seen in Uttar Pradesh. On this day, people tend to carry out massive charities.
West Bengal – Posh Parbon
In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known as Poush Sankranti named after the Bengali month in which it falls. The freshly harvested paddy and date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur and Patali are used in the preparation of a variety of traditional Bengali sweets.God Dharma is worshiped in the day of Makar Sankranti. And the Lord is given khichurhi or rice as Bhog. The day after Makar Sankranti worships The Goddess Laxmi devi on the first day of the month Magh from the calendar of Bengali. It is called Baharlaxmi Puja because in an open place the idol is worshiped.
Assam – Magh Bihu/ Bhogali Bihu
On Jan 15 Its marks the end of the season of harvest and is a joyful festival of harvested crops. It is celebrated with bonfires parties, songs, and celebration.The celebrations also feature traditional Assamese games such as tekeli bhonga (pot-breaking) and buffalo fighting.Bonfires are called mejis and again, sweets made of sesame, peanuts are distributed.
As we know that India is an agricultural country and the majority of the festivals are inclined towards nature is basically harvesting festival or it can be considered as the ‘thanksgiving festival’ because this festival is celebrated to thank the Sun God for helping farmers in getting better-yielding crops. And also during the festival people reject old belongings and welcome new stuff.
Pongal / Makar Sankranti in South East Asia and Other Countries : Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and other countries.
Due to the large number of Indians residing in the various countries of South East Asia, Pongal is extremely popular festival in these places.
Indonesia has about 2,000 to 10,000 Indians, where as Singapore has about 200,000 Idians. Malaysia has a 1,060,000 Indian population and Myanmar (Burma) had a Indian population of 200,000, Cambodia has 1,000 Indians, China 5,000 and Thailand 10,000.
In Malaysia the festival of Pongal is one of the biggest Hindu festivals celebrated for 3 days.
Bhogi is celebrated before the Makar sankranti / Pongal festival. On Bhogi, people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation.
The first day it is celebrated for the harvested crops and share with friends and relatives. The main feature of this festival is the boiling of rice in a clay pot until it overflows when the family members gathered round the pot shouting, ”Ponggalo Ponggal” then add rice to it. In Tamil means boiling and overflowing.
The second day known as Mattu Ponggal, cows are worshipped and given the offerings. This is the time when villages decorate the cows and also the elders seek God’s blessing for their children. The cow is a sacred animal in the culture of India. The day is dedicated to honour the cows for their contribution in our lives. The cows are given a bath, their horns painted and they are decorated with garlands.
And on the third day known as Kannum Ponggal, People wear new clothes and visit relatives, exchange gifts. Pongal is one of the most important and popular Hindu festivals celebrated with devotion and jubilation by Indians all over the world
Indians in Australia celebrate the harvest festival with a lot of fervour is truly a melting pot of cultures with traditional Indian scenery, complete with ambient nadaswaram music, banana leaves, sugar cane sticks, mango leaves, kolam, and an ornate Pongal pot adorning to the sun god.Tamil Arts and Culture Association’s (TACA) brings together the Tamil community to celebrate Pongal festival that still maintains the spirit of the culture and traditions of Indians.
Pongal is enjoyed with so much joy and energy in African nations. There live a huge population of Indians, all the festival-related rituals are conducted with utmost seriousness, and the festivity are joined by Indians from around the country.
The Indian Hindus living in America and other ‘ regional Indian sangams ‘ including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalee, Kannada, Marati and many others can be available. to celebrating is the pongal.
The purpose of this event is:
- To provide a platform for new community members to be introduced to the established community members
- To celebrate and observe the major holidays of January Bhogi, Pongal, Makar Sankranti, Lohri.
- To enjoy a tasty Sweet Pongal.
January the Tamil Heritage Month in Canada, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, encouraged his fellow country people to “reflect on the strong heritage of Canada’s Tamil community”, asserting, “The nation is stronger and richer because of the contributions of Tamil-Canadians.” Festival Celebrated as the main where the tradition of rice prevails. The rice is boiled and offered to the god.
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