Makar Sankranti is the first festival of the year. It is celebrated differently across the country. It is a day dedicated to the Sun God and observed each year in the lunar month, which falls in January. It is celebrated by people in India and Nepal to appreciate their harvest and is considered a very auspicious day in the Hindu calendar. It has different names across the country, and this year it is celebrated on January 14. Makar Sankranti also marks the end of the month when winter solstice occurs and the beginning of Uttarayana, which is a six-month auspicious period in the Hindu calendar.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with much excitement and grandeur. Decorations, new clothes, sweets, and delicious food are very much a part of this auspicious festival. As much as your kids enjoy Makar Sankranti, they might not know its significance and the customs and traditions attached to the festival. Scroll below to find out.
Significance Of Makar Sankranti
Celebrating the festival is one thing, but it’s essential to know why it’s celebrated. Your kids are more likely to get involved in the festival if they understand its significance. So why is Makar Sankranti celebrated, and what is its importance? Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival in India. It is known by different names across the country. It is called Lohri in North India and Pongal in South India. The festival also has deep meaning in the Mahabharata, and it is believed that those who die on Makar Sankranti attain moksha or salvation.
Why Is It Celebrated?
The festival of Makar Sankranti marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The Sun God is worshipped and revered across the country during this day. Devotees also worship Lord Vishnu and Goddess Mahalaxmi along with the Sun God. The word ‘Makar Sankranti’ is derived from the word ‘Makara’, which means Capricorn, and ‘Sankranti’, which means the sun’s movement from one place to another. The sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn, marking the onset of the spring season. Several Hindu households refrain from celebrating auspicious occasions before Makar Sankranti as it marks the end of the inauspicious time.
Traditions Revolving Around Makar Sankranti
Several traditions have been around for years to commemorate the festival of Makar Sankranti. It is celebrated around the same time every year, and families come up with fun ways to fulfill the traditions around it. Here are some fun ways to celebrate Makar Sankranti with your kids:
1. Exchange Halwa
A common tradition associated with the festival — people exchange multi-colored sweets called halwa among family and friends. It signifies new beginnings and an exchange of goodwill. It implies that all ill-feelings and grudges from the past are forgotten, and differences are resolved to maintain friendships.
2. Use Of Sesame Seeds
People consume sesame seeds mixed in food and water. It is believed to have a spiritual significance and cleanse your mind and body from negative energy to reinforce positive thoughts. Sweets are also prepared using sesame seeds and offered to deities and each other.
3. Flying Kites
Kites have been a part of Makar Sankranti’s tradition for a long time. When people come out and fly kites during the festival, they are exposed to the sun’s rays, which heals them from infections, cold and dry skin from the winter season. You can witness colorful kites during the festival, and it’s a beautiful sight.
4. Wearing Black Colored Outfits
According to Hindu customs, wearing black on special occasions is considered inauspicious. However, during Makar Sankranti, it is considered auspicious for women to wear black colored outfits, especially sarees, and take part in the haldi-kumkum ceremony. The reason behind wearing black is that it is a medium to absorb heat and keep the body warm during the peak of winter when the festival occurs.
5. Exchange Sweets Made Of Jaggery
Sugar cane is one of the first crops harvested during the harvest season and converted to jaggery. Therefore, people prepare delicious sweets made of jaggery and offer them to deities and each other. Farmers also offer the sweets to deities as a way to thank Mother Nature for the bountiful crop.
Every festival has its significance, which makes it special. With Makar Sankranti being the first festival of the season, it is one of the most awaited festivals that people love celebrating. We hope the festival of Makar Sankranti brings you joy and prosperity this year. How are you celebrating the festival? Comment below and let us know.