Makar Sankranti Festival
Sankranthi is a festival that signifies the beginning of the harvest season for the farmers in India usually comes on 14th of January. It is also known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Tilgul in Maharashtra.
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The auspicious day of Sankranthi is celebrated typically in Andhra Pradesh, the festival is celebrated for three days
• Bhogi Panduga (also known as Bhogi Pongal)
• Peddala Panduga,SANKRANTI (also known as Surya Pongal)
• Kanuma Panduga (also known as Kanuma Pongal)
You can see the cultural greatness of Andhra Pradesh at its best at that time. Every village and town in Andhra Pradesh is decorated with colorful drawings also known as ‘muggulu’ , found in front of the houses during Sankranthi. Woman enjoy making these drawings, and every year they try to out do themselves., People decorated in mythological costumes like Budabukkalavallu, Haridaslulu, Gangireddulavallu visit every house during the festival; as part of tradition, they are honored and given money.
Flying kites can be seen all over the skies. Kids and adults gather in groups competing with other kite flyers. In the rural areas, cock fights are one of the most prominent events of this festival. The first day of festival is called Bhogi. In the night people light up fire with several old articles in their houses. The next day is Sankranti, the big festival, on this day everyone wears new clothes and pray to their favorite god by offering them sweets and dishes.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious day for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion, fervor & gaiety. Lakhs of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar & Prayag and pray to Lord Sun. It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of the country as Pongal, and in Punjab is celebrated as Lohri & Maghi. Gujarati’s not only look reverentially up to the sun, but also offer thousands of their colorful oblations in the form of beautiful kites all over the skyline. They may be trying to reach up to their glorious God or bring about greater proximity with the one who represents the best. It is a day for which Bhishma Pitamah kept waiting to leave his mortal coil.
Sankranti is celebrated all over India and Nepal with some regional variations:
The other places in India
Punjab - Lohri
Bihar - Sankranti
West Bengal and Assam – Bhogali Bihu
Gujarat and Rajasthan – Uttarayan (Kite flying festival)
In Tamilnadu - Pongal
In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh – Sankranthi
Makara Vilakku Festival in Sabarimala Temple In Nepal,
Tharu people – Maghi
Other people – Maghe Sankranti or Maghe Sakrati
Makar Sankranti is the day when the glorious Sun-God of Hindus begins its ascendancy and entry into the Northern Hemisphere. Sun for the Hindus stands for Pratyaksha-Brahman – the manifest God, who symbolizes, the one, non-dual, self-effulgent, glorious divinity blessing one & all tirelessly. Sun is the one who transcends time and also the one who rotates the proverbial Wheel of Time. The famous Gayatri Mantra, which is chanted everyday by every faithful Hindu, is directed to Sun God to bless them with intelligence & wisdom. Sun not only represents God but also stands for an embodiment of knowledge & wisdom. Lord Krishna reveals in Gita that this manifested divinity was his first disciple, and we all know it to be indeed a worthy one too. No Sundays for the Sun, may be because one who revels in its very ‘being’, the very essence of his own Self, is always in the Sunday mood.
The co-relation of cosmic events with individual life and values is one of the most astounding traits of Hindu Masters. Once this co-relation is brought about thereafter these cosmic events become instrumental to remind us the best which we cherish & value. Of all the cosmic bodies Sun is the most glorious & important, thus every sun-centric cosmic event became very important spiritual, religious & cultural events. On Makar Sankranti day the Sun begins its ascendancy and journey into the Northern Hemisphere, and thus it signifies an event wherein the Gods seem to remind their children that ‘Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya’. May you go higher & higher – to more & more Light and never to darkness.