Makara Sankranti

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Makara Sankranti is a mid-winter Hindu festival of India and Nepal. The festival is celebrated to mark the transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn during the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere (or the beginning of Uttarayana). The famous Kumbh Mela is also held on Makar Sankranti every 12 years. Hindus gather in large numbers to take a holy dip at Ganga Sagar on this day every year.


[edit] Introduction

Makara Sankranti is the only Hindu festival which is based on the Solar calendar rather than the Lunar calendar.In some parts of India, the festival is celebrated by taking dips in the Ganga or any river and offering water to the Sun god. The dip is said to purify the self and bestow punya. Special puja is offered as a thanks giving for good harvest.

Festival of Colours
Festival of Colours

Since the festival is celebrated in the mid winter, the food prepared for this festival are such that they keep the body warm and give high energy. Laddu of til made with Jaggery (Gul)is specialty of the festival.In Maharshtra it is called 'Tilgul', but the place where it is celebrated with much pomp is Andhra Pradesh, where the festival is celebrated for 3 days and is more of a cultural festival unlike an auspicious day as in other parts of India.

[edit] Regional variations

Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India and Nepal with some some regional variations:

Makara Sankranti Festival of Colours
Makara Sankranti Festival of Colours
  • In North India,
    • Punjab - Lohri
    • West Bengal and Assam - Bhogali Bihu
    • Gujarat and Rajasthan - Uttarayan (Kite flying festival)
  • In South India,
    • In Tamilnadu - Pongal
    • In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh - Sankranthi
  • Other parts of India as Makara Sankranti
  • In Nepal,
    • Tharu people - Maghi
    • Other people - Maghe Sankranti or Maghe Sakrati

[edit] Mela

Many Melas or fairs are held on Makar Sankranti the most famous being the Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years at one of four holy locations, namely Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nashik. The Magh Mela (or mini-Kumbh Mela held annually at Prayag) and the Gangasagar Mela (held at the head of the Ganges River, where it flows into the Bay of Bengal).

Makara Sankranti is celebrated in Kerala at Sabarimala where the Makara Jyothi is visible followed by the Makara Vilakku celebrations.

[edit] See Also

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