Festivals in India run through the year. With the dawn of the new year the cycle has renewed itself . It has hardly been 15 days since the onset of the 2017 and we have already started ticking off the long list of festivals. Knocking at the door is Makar Sankranti, widely celebrated across India in various forms but the theme remains the same ie, to celebrate the harvest. Every festival is surrounded with a lot of interesting facts and Makar Sankranti is no exception. Here are 5 interesting facts you didn’t know about Makar Sankranti:
The name Makar Sankranti: There is a reason behind why this festival is called by this name. ‘Makara’ means Capricorn which is a zodiac sign and ‘Sankranti’ means sun’s movement from one sign to another. So if we club it together, it means sun’s movement towards Capricorn.
One festival, different names:As mentioned above, Makar Sankranti is observed across India with varied names like in Tamil Nadu it is called Pongal, West Bengal ‘Poush Sankrati’, Assam ‘Bhogali Bihu’, Gujrat calls in’Uttarayan’, Parts of Haryana and Himachal call it by’Maghi’. But at the end the meaning remains the same, a festival which largely celebrates the crop harvest of the season.
Flying kites on Makar Sankranti: Believe it or not, there is a very scientific reason behind flying kites on the eve of ‘Sankranti’. In the olden times, the event of flying the kite was done in the early hours and it was believed that the exposure had health benefits. The sun’s rays was believed to help fight infections and skin diseases and keep us healthy through.
Makar Sankranti is also celebrated outside India: Nepal, a neighbour of India celebrates this festival and they call it ‘Maghe Sankranti’. Nepalese bring an end to the month of ‘poush’ when no religious ceremonies take place and they offer their prayers at various rivers. They too celebrate it with prayers and distribution of sweets and food.
Onset of Kumbh: Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh and Gangasagar Mela in West Bengal begins just after Makar Sankranti. Pilgrims from across India attend these fair and take a dip into the holy water, believed to wash off their sins.