Humindian.com wishes all its members and guests a very Happy and Prosperous Lohri and Makar Sakranti!!
Makar Sankranti is the traditional harvest festival celebrated in different parts of the country. In Punjab, the eve of Makar Sakranti is popularly known as Lohri and is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm!!
In 2012, the date of Makar Sankranti is January 14 and 15. Auspicious time to perform holy bath and pujas for Makar Sankranti in all regions in India is on January 15, 2012 from sunrise. Uttarayan in Gujarat is on January 14, 2012. Makaravilakku Festival in Sabariamala in Kerala is also on January 15, 2012
According to the solar calendar, when the sun moves from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Poush, it marks the end of long winter season and beginning of harvest season. Makar means 'Capricorn' and Sankranti is the the day when the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn.
History :- According to the legends, Sankranti is a deity, who killed demon named Sankarasur. The day followed by Makar Sankranti is known as Karidin or Kinkrant. It is believed that the person who dies in the dakshinayan period is freed from the cycle of birth and rebirth and attains Moksha.
Celebrations :- Considered as the most auspicious day among the Hindus, the day begins with people taking the holy dip in the waters of rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krushna and Kaveri and worship of Sun God .
The day is celebrated with diverse traditional rituals and customs and is known by different names in different parts of the country.
- In Punjab, Sankranti is also known as 'Maghi' (beginning of Magh month) and on its eve, Lohri is celebrated. On this day, Punjabis worship fire, and friends and relative gather around fire, and throw puffed rice, til and popcorns into the flames of bonfire.
- In Uttar Pradesh, the eve of Makar Sankranti is celebrated as 'Khichiri'. Taking a dip at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati is considered as highly sacred on this day.
- In Madhya Pradesh and Bundelhand, the festival is popular as 'Sukarat'. People in Madhya Pradesh make special dishes and celebrate the festival with great fun and frolic, accompained by traditional singing and dancing.
- In Bengal, a big fair is held at Ganga Sagar every year where the river Ganga enters into the sea. The mela is attended by large number of tourists from all around the world.
- In Gujarat, there is custom of flying kite and exchanging gifts among the relatives.
- In Maharashtra, on the Makar Sankranti day people exchange til sweet dishes and til ladoos.
- Deep south in Tamil Nadu, the festival is celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.