India is known for its diversity in every aspect of life. Be it the cultural, religious or lifestyle, it is the diversity and appreciation of it bonds us as Indians. One of the major highlights is the sharing of diverse cultures and its festivals. As the year 2018 kicked in, one of the major festivals which is celebrated by most of Hindus across India is the festival of Makar Sankranti. The festival is celebrated to be thankful to the Lord Surya. The festival is usually celebrated in the month of January, mostly in the second week. Devotees usually are thankful to the mother nature for the fruitful resources and good harvest during the winter season.
The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated to facilitate the entry of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn). This year the festival will be celebrated on January 14. As per the Drikpanchang, activities like taking a bath, offering sweets to lord Surya, or performing the religious rites and rituals are done.
How people celebrate is very interesting. Some people decorate their homes whereas some parts of the country enjoy the festival by flying kites. However, every part of the country sees sumptuous feasts being made in the household. Along with Makar Sankranti, several parts of the country observes other festivals like: Lohri and Pongal. However, here is the way different parts of the country celebrates the festival of Makar Sankranti with different traditions.
Dip in sacred rivers: It is believed that taking a dip in holy water, or river such as Ganga will relieve them of their past sins.
Performing Puja to Lord Surya: The puja is performed for lord Surya to convey gratitude to nature for its resources. There are many rites and rituals performed on this day.
Making sweets and desserts: On Makar Sankranti making of sweets with jaggery and sesame is common in most parts of the country. It is believed that during this period, the first sugarcane crop for the year is harvested. Til gur (sesame-jaggery sweet) is prepared and exchanged on this day among friends and relatives.