Makar Sankranti is a Hindu festival that celebrates the beginning of the harvest season in India. It typically falls on January 14th and marks the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days. It is also a festival that celebrates the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn), which happens around the same time.
The festival is celebrated with a variety of traditional customs and rituals, such as flying kites, taking holy dips in rivers, and sharing sweets. It is also celebrated in Nepal and other countries.
Story of Makar Sankranti
The story of Makar Sankranti is rooted in Hindu mythology and is associated with the god Surya, who is the sun god in Hinduism. According to one legend, the demon king Bali, who had become powerful and arrogant, had taken control of the three worlds and had pushed the gods out of the heavens.
The gods sought the help of Vishnu, who took on the form of a dwarf Brahmin (Vamana) and approached Bali to ask for a gift. Bali granted Vamana’s request for three paces of land, but Vamana revealed his true form and with his first step, he covered the heavens, and with the second step, he covered the earth. Bali, true to his word, offered his head for the third step, but Vishnu, pleased with Bali’s devotion, instead sent him to the netherworld and restored the gods to the heavens.
The story also has other versions which tell of Surya, the Sun god visiting his son, Shani, who is the Lord of Capricorn, on Makar Sankranti and this is considered an auspicious event. Some other version tells that the festival is celebrated to honor the beginning of the agricultural cycle, as the sun moves into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn), signaling the start of the harvest season and longer days.
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It is also believed that taking a dip in the holy rivers like the Ganges on the day of Makar Sankranti washes away all the sins of the past and makes the path to salvation smooth.
Special Cuisine of Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with a variety of traditional foods in India. The festival is associated with the harvest season, and many of the dishes prepared for the occasion are made from newly harvested grains, such as rice and wheat.
One of the most popular foods during Makar Sankranti is Tilgul, a sweet made from sesame seeds and jaggery. It is usually served with a piece of dry coconut and is eaten as a symbol of goodwill and friendship.
Another traditional food that is typically prepared for the festival is Khichdi, which is a type of porridge made from newly harvested rice, moong dal, and various spices.
Many regions have their own special dish to be enjoyed during this festival. For example, in Maharashtra, it is typical to make and eat ‘Tilgud laddoo’ and ‘Puran Poli’, in Gujarat, ‘Pitha’ made of ‘Sesame and Jaggery’ is enjoyed. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it is traditional to make ‘Pallelu’ which is a kind of sweet dumpling made from newly harvested rice flour.
In addition to these traditional foods, people also share sweets and savory snacks with friends and family as a symbol of goodwill and friendship.
Makar Sankranti Wishes
Here are some Makar Sankranti wishes that you can share with your friends and family:
- “Warm wishes on Makar Sankranti. May this festival bring you new opportunities, prosperity, and good fortune.”
- “May the sun god bless you with a harvest of happiness, success, and prosperity on Makar Sankranti.”
- “Wishing you a bright and happy Makar Sankranti. May this festival bring you joy, love, and peace.”
- “As the sun enters Makara, may your life be filled with new hopes, new opportunities, and new beginnings.”
- “Wishing you a Makar Sankranti filled with happiness, laughter, and love. May all your dreams come true.”
- “May the divine light of the sun god guide you to a path of success and prosperity on Makar Sankranti”
- “Let’s celebrate the festival of Makar Sankranti with love, joy, and a lot of sweets. Wishing you a prosperous and blessed Makar Sankranti.”
These are just a few examples, you can always make your own based on the relationship you have with the person you are wishing to.