Welcoming the year with Sankranthi

Sankranthi marks the welcoming of happiness, prosperity, health and positivity in our lives. Just as
how we welcome the day in the morning, we welcome the Surya Bhagwan’ s transit into the Makar
Rashi ( Capricorn) celebrating the solar cycle of the year. In our Sanatana Dharma, Surya Bhagwan is
the prime source of life and energy. The worship of Sun God is mentioned in the Rig Veda and this is
celebrated as the Makar Sankranthi in our country. This marks the start of the longer days of the
year. Unlike other festivals, Makar Sankranthi is the only festival which falls almost on the same date
every year.
Sankranthi is one of the festivals which do not belong to any one state or community, but to the
entire country. This Pan Indian festival is a celebration of peace, being together and sharing. The
colours of India come out breathtakingly in this festival, where there are kites flying in the air,
colourful rangolis filling the streets, fairs with lot of fun filled activities and bonfires celebrating the
end of winter days. The festival includes going to holy rivers and offering prayers at the banks of the
rivers to Surya Bhagwan.
The Kumbh Mela which comes every twelve years also is celebrated during the same days of the
Sankranthi festival. It is called as Maghi in Punjab. The people dance to their favourite energetic
Bhangra, and eat kheer cooked in milk, sugarcane and jaggery. There are many Maghi fairs held all
around Punjab.
In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana, this festival is celebrated preparing sweet
delicacies. This festival is also popular as the Kite festival in Jaipur. In Tamil Nadu, Sankranthi is called
Pongal. Pongal is a dish made out of fresh rice and jaggery in new pots allowing it to boil and over
flow from the pot. It also is celebrated with colourful Kolams which are drawn in the front of the
houses with a special rice powder.
In the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Sankranthi is celebrated as the festival of food, kites,
rangolis and cattle worship. There are Hari Dasas, (men from the Brahmin community) who carry a
pot over their head and sing songs of Bhagwan Vishnu while walking and balancing the pot on the
head. They go from one home to other and women put rice in the pot and take their blessings. The
cows are given a ritual bath, decorated and worshipped.
In Karnataka, this festival is called the Suggi. People exchange food offerings with rituals which is
called as Ellu Birodhu. In Odisha, The Jagannath temple is decorated splendidly and special pujas are
done to the deity. In Jharkhand, the people celebrate throwing Til seeds into the fire and eat Dahi
Chuda, made out of beaten rice.
In Assam, It is called the Magha Bihu, which marks the end of the harvest. Young men erect bamboo
houses and play traditional Assamese games. In Maharashtra, people exchange sweets of Til and
Jaggery and women give traditional Haldi Kumkum for long life of their husbands. In Gujarat, it is
majorly a Kite festival with streets filled with kites and energetic sounds of young men.
Sankranthi festival is a celebration of the yearlong hard work coming home as harvest. It is a festival
of our ancestors blessing us from the heavenly abode. Sankranthi is a festival of togetherness which
teaches to share and care with each other and celebrate life spiritually and starting the New Year
with hope and gratitude towards the Almighty.