Happy Makar Sankranti Festival

Pongal Makar Sankranti | Kanumu | Lohri 
Bihu / Bohaggiyo Bhishu Bhogi Thai Pongal |  Hadaga Festival
Makar Sankranti Festival

The Sanskrit term “Shankramana” means “to begin to move”. The day on which the sun begins to move northwards is called Makara Sankranti. It usually falls in the middle of January. Makara literally means 'Capricorn' and Sankranti is the day when the sun passes from one sign of the zodiac to the next. The Sankranti of any month is considered auspicious as it signifies afresh start. However Makara Sankranti is celebrated in the month of Magha when the sun passes through the winter solstice, from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. According to Hindu mythology, one 'human' year of 365 days is equivalent to one day and night of the gods. Makara Sankranti marks the beginning of the day of the gods, which is equivalent to six solar months and is believed to be the auspicious part of the year. The previous six months, considered the night and therefore symbolic of darkness and evil, are inauspicious. Makara Sankranti is believed to be the time when Surya rides his chariot, drawn by seven horses, from the southern skies to the north.

For the pastoral people therefore, it is of prime importance for it signifies the end of the winter and the 'turning back' of the sun to the north. The festival of Makar Sankrant traditionally coincides with the beginning of the Sun's northward journey (the Uttarayan) when it enters the sign of Makar (the Capricon). 
Makar Sankranthi Celebrates and Taking Holy Bath in Holy Rivers in india
Makar Sankranthi Celebrates and Taking Holy Bath in Holy Rivers in india
The evidence of this festival being lucky is found in our great epic Mahabharat wherein it is told that the great warrior-hero, Bhishma Pitamaha even after being wounded and lying on the bed of arrows, lingered on till Uttarayan set in, to breathe his last. It is believed that the person who dies on this auspicious day of Sankrant escapes the cycle of birth and re-birth and that his soul mingles with the Almighty.

This festival has been celebrated for thousands of years. Initially, this was probably a festival celebrated in the cold climate, when people prayed for the warmth of the sun. In all likelihood, the Aryans celebrated it, and continued to do so after migrating to India.

on the Sankranti day people exchange multi-coloured tilguds made from til (sesame seeds) and sugar
Pilgrims seeks blessings from a Sadhu after a holy dip at Sagar Island on the occasion of Makar Sankranti
Pilgrims seeks blessings from a Sadhu after a holy dip at 
Sagar Island on the occasion of Makar Sankranti
and til-laddus made from til and jaggery. Til-polis are offered for lunch. While exchanging tilguls as tokens of goodwill people greet each other saying - "til-gul ghya, god god bola" (take the tilguls and talk sweetly). The under-lying thought in the exchange of tilguls is to forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends. This is a special day,  married women are invited for a get-together called "Haldi-Kumkoo" where they apply haldi and kumkoo on each others forehead and give gifts of any utensil, which the woman of the house purchases on that day, channas or moong dal beetal leaves and banans are also offered along with the utensil.

There is family re-union in all homes. Brothers renew their contacts with their married sisters by giving them presents. On the next day, the herds of cows are adorned beautifully, fed and worshipped. It is a great day for the cattle.

On the same day, young girls prepare various special dishes—sweet rice, sour rice, rice with coconut—and take them to the bank of a river or tank. They lay some leaves on the ground and place on them balls of the various preparations for the fish, birds, and other creatures. It is an extremely colorful ceremony.  Both these days are regarded as being inauspicious for travel. This is to prevent us from going away from home on those days.

Sankranti is celebrated all over South Asia with some regional variations. It is known by different names and celebrated with different customs in different parts of the country.

In India it is known by different regional names
  • Makar Sankranti or Sankranti - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
  • Uttarayan - Gujarat and Rajasthan
  • Maghi - Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab
  • Pongal - Tamil Nadu
  • Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu - Assam Valley
  • Shishur Saenkraat - Kashmir Valley
  • Makara Vilakku Festival - Kerala
  • Khichdi - Uttar Pradesh
In other countries too the day is celebrated but under different names and in different ways
  • In Nepal,
  • Tharu people - Maghi
  • Other people - Maghe Sankranti or Maghe Sakrati
  • In Thailand - สงกรานต์ Songkran
  • In Laos - Pi Ma Lao
  • In Myanmar - Thingyan
  • In Cambodia - Moha Sangkran
Traditions, rituals and celebration
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days for the Hindus and is celebrated in almost all parts of India in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion. Millions of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar (the point where the river Ganges meets the Bay of Bengal) and Prayag and pray to the Sun God (Surya). It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of India as Pongal, and in Punjab as Maghi.

In the western Indian state of Gujarat, the celebrations are even bigger. People offer thousands of their colorful oblations to the Sun in the form of beautiful kites. The act stands as a metaphor for reaching to their beloved God, the one who represents the best. In the rural and coastal areas, cock fights are held and is a prominent event of the festival. Makara Sankranti is also to honour, worship and to pay respect to Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge). At the start of this significant event, there is also worship for the departed ancestors.

Makara Sankranti identifies a period of enlightenment, peace, prosperity and happiness followed by a period of darkness, ignorance and viciousness with immense sorrow. The six months of northern movement of the sun is followed by six months of southern movement.

Since the festival is celebrated in mid winter, food prepared for this festival is such that it keeps the body warm and gives high energy. Laddu of til made with Jaggery is a specialty of the festival. In the western Indian state of Maharashtra it is called 'Tilgul'. In Karnataka it is called 'Yellu-Bella'. In some states cattle are decorated with various colours and are made to jump over a bon-fire.

It is celebrated differently in different regions of India.

Andhra Pradesh
Thorny Bushes being drawn by a village boy for Bhogi festival In a small village in Telangana
Makar Sankranti celebrates in Andhra pradesh
Makar Sankranti celebrates in Andhra pradesh
The festival, Sankranti (మకర సంక్రాంతి), is celebrated for four days in Andhra Pradesh as below:
  • Day 1 - Bhogi
  • Day 2 - Makara Sankranti (Pedda Panduga)
  • Day 3 - Kanuma
  • Day 4 - Mukkanuma
The day preceding Makara Sankranti is called Bhogi(భోగి) and this is when people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. At dawn people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful. The disposal of derelict things is where all old habits, the vices, attachment to relations and materials things are sacrificed in the sacrificial fire of the knowledge of Rudra, known as the "Rudra Gita Gyan Yagya. It represents realization, transformation and purification of the soul by imbibing and inculcating divine virtues.

In many families, infants and children (usually less than three years old) are showered with fruit called "Regi Pandlu", that is the Indian jujube fruit. It is believed that doing this would protect the children from evil eye. Sweets in generous quantities are prepared and distributed. It is a time for families to congregate. Brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts as affirmation of their filial love. Landlords give gifts of food, clothes and money to their workforce.

The second day is Makara Sankranti, also called "Pedda Panduga" (పెద్ద పండుగ), which literally means "the big festival", when everyone wears new clothes, prays to God, and make offerings of traditional food to ancestors who have died.

On the day after Makara Sankranti, the animal kingdom is remembered and in particular, the cows. Young girls feed the animals, birds and fishes as a symbol of sharing. Travel is considered to be inappropriate, as these days are dedicated for re-union of the families. Sankranti in this sense demonstrates their strong cultural values as well as a time for change and transformation. And finally, gurus seek out their devotees to bestow blessings on them.

Kanuma Panduga (కనుమ) is not as widely celebrated, but is an integral part of the Sankranti culture. Mukkanuma (ముక్కనుమ) is popular among the non-vegetarians of the society.

People in Coastal Andhra do not eat any meat or fish during the first three days of the festival, and do so only on the day of Mukkanuma, whereas people in Telangana region observe only the first two days as part of the festival. They eat rice cooked with Til (sesame seeds) on the first day and eat meat on Makara Sankranti (Pedda Panduga), the second day of the festival. For this festival all families prepare Ariselu, Appalu (a sweet made of Jaggery and Pumpkin) and make an offering to God.

This festival is celebrated in almost every village with adventurous games in South India. Whether it is the cock fights in Andhra, Bull fighting in Tamil Nadu or Elephant Mela in Kerala, there is huge amount of illegal betting but the so called "tradition" continues to play a major role in the festival.[citation needed]

Another notable feature of the festival in South India is the Haridas who goes around with a colorfully dressed cow, begging for rice wishing luck. During these days people from Hyderabad fly kites from terraces of their buildings. Children and elders enjoy this kite flying a lot.

In Assam, the festival is celebrated as Bhogali Bihu.

In 'Bihar', the festival is celebrated on 14–15 January.

On 14 January, it is celebrated as Makar Sankranti or Sakraat or KHICHDI (in local dialects).As in other parts of country, people take bath in rivers and ponds and feast upon seasonal delicacies as a celebration of good harvest. The delicacies include Chura, Gur(jaggery), various sweets made of til (Sesame seeds) such as Tilkut, Tilwa, Maska, etc., curd, milk and seasonal vegetables. Kite flying festivals are also organized, albeit on a small scale.

On 15 January, it is celebrated as Makraat (in some parts of the state) when people relish special Khichri (Dal-Rice replete with cauliflower, peas and potatoes).

This festival is considered to be one of the most important festival. People start their day by worshiping and putting til (sesame seeds) into fire followed by eating "Dahi-chuda"(remember dahi-chuda is different than chuda-dahi, as in former dahi,i.e. curd predominates over chuda,i.e. beaten rice or avalakki in Kannada in amount) along with Tilkut and Lai.

Generally in morning people eat chuda-dahi ( dahi-chuda is favorite of Brahmins ) with KOHADA(red pumpkin) ka bhujiya which is made specially with sugar and salt combination without adding water in it, with lots of LAI, i.e. laddus made of til, chuda, chawal(rice). After such heavy diet it becomes next to impossible to eat lunch in afternoon, so people spend time in greeting others, playing with kites. In night special KHICHDI is made. "khichdi ke 4 yaar, chokha, papad, ghee, achaar" some prefer to add many more side dishes with khichdi like chatni, tilauri etc. Name of this festival is Khichdi, because such grand and rich Khichdi is made only once in a year on this occasion.

Coastal regions
In the coastal regions, it is a harvest festival dedicated to Lord Indra.

Celebrations in Goa closely resemble to that in Maharashtra. The men hardly take part in the celebrations but it is the women folk who celebrate 'haldi-kumkum'

Uttarayan, as Makar Sankranti is called in Gujarati, is a major festival in the state of Gujarat which lasts for two days.
  • 14 January is Uttarayan
  • 15 January is Vasi-Uttarayan(Stale Uttarayan)
Gujarati people keenly await this festival to fly kites, called 'patang' in Gujarati. Kites for Uttarayan are made of special light-weight paper and bamboo and are mostly rhombus shaped with central spine and a single bow. The string often contains abrasives in order to cut down other people's kites.

In Gujarat, from December through to Makar Sankranti, people start enjoying Uttarayan. Undhiyu (spicy, baked mix of winter vegetables) and chikkis (made from til (sesame seeds), peanuts and jaggery) are the special festival recipes savoured on this day.

In the major cities of Vadodara, Surat and Ahemdabad, the skies appear filled with thousands upon thousands of kites as people enjoy two full days of Uttarayan up on their terraces.

When people cut any kites they used to yell with words like "kaypo che" or "e lapet" in Gujarati language.

Himachal Pradesh
In Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh Makar Sankranti is known as Magha Saaja. Saaja is Pahari word for Sakranti, start of the new month. Hence this day marks the start of the month of Magha.

According to the Hindu religious texts, on the day of Uttarayani the sun enters the Zodiacal sign of 'Makar' (Capricon) from the Zodiacal sign of the Kark (Cancer), i.e. from this day onwards the sun becomes 'Uttarayan' or it starts moving to the north. It is said that from this day, which signals a change of season, the migratory birds start returning to the hills. On Magha Saaja people wake up early in the morning and take ceremonial dips and shower in the water springs or Baolis. In the daytime people visit their neighbours and together enjoy Khichdi with Ghee and Chaas and also give it in charity at temples. Festival culminates with singing and Naati(folk dance).

This is the Suggi or harvest festival for farmers of Kaveri basin of Karnataka. On this auspicious day, young females (kids & teenagers) wear new clothes to visit near and dear ones with a Sankranti offering in a plate, and exchange the same with other families. This ritual is called "Ellu Birodhu."[6] Here the plate would normally contain "Ellu" (white sesame seeds) mixed with fried groundnuts, neatly cut dry coconut & fine cut bella (Jaggery). The mixture is called "Ellu-Bella" (ಎಳ್ಳು ಬೆಲ್ಲ). The plate will also contain sugar candy molds of various shapes (Sakkare Acchu, ಸಕ್ಕರೆ ಅಚ್ಚು) with a piece of sugarcane.[7] There is a saying in Kannada "ellu bella thindu olle maathadi" which translates to 'eat the mixture of sesame seeds and jaggery and speak only good.' This festival signifies the harvest of the season, since sugarcane is predominant in these parts.[8]

In some parts of Karnataka, a newly married woman is required to give away bananas for a period of five years to married women (muthaidhe) from the first year of her marriage, but increase the number of bananas in multiples of five. There is also a tradition of some households giving away red berries "Yalchi Kai" along with the above. In North Karnataka, kite flying with community members is also a tradition. Drawing rangole in groups is another popular event among women during Sankranti.[9]

An important ritual is display of cows and cattle in colourful costumes in an open field. Cows are decorated for the occasion and taken on a procession. They are also made to cross a pyre. This ritual is common in rural Karnataka and is called "Kichchu Haayisuvudu."

Makara Sankranti is celebrated in Kerala at Sabarimala where the Makara Jyothi is visible followed by the Makara Vilakku celebrations.

Kumaon (Uttarakhand)
In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great gusto. According to the Hindu religious texts, on the day of Uttarayani also called Ghughuti(घुघुति) in Kumaon, the sun enters the Zodiacal sign of 'Makar' (Capricon) from the Zodiacal sign of the Kark (Cancer), i.e. from this day onwards the sun becomes 'Uttarayan' or it starts moving to the north. It is said that from this day, which signals a change of season, the migratory birds start returning to the hills. On Makar Sankranti people give Khichadi (a mixture of pulses and rice) in charity, take ceremonial dips in holy rivers, participate in the Uttarayani fairs and celebrate the festival of Ghughutia or Kale Kauva. During the festival of Kale Kauva (literal translation 'black crow') people make sweetmeats out of sweetened flour (flour and gur) deep fried in ghee, shape them in shapes such as drums, pomegranates, knives, and swords. They are strung together and worn as necklace, in the middle of which an orange is fixed. Early in the morning children wear these necklaces and sing "Kale Kauva" to attract crows and other birds and offer them portions of these necklaces, as a token of welcome for all the migratory birds, who are now coming back after their winter sojourn in the plains. Wearing garlands of the above eatables the children come out calling the crows with following song on their lips:
Kale Kale,
bhol bate aile bor puwa,
Khale Ie Kauva bara,
mai ke de sunu gharo,
Ie Kauva dhal,
mai ke de sunu thai.

काले कौवा काले घुघुति माला खाले
ले कौवा बड़ा मकें दे सुणो घड़ा
ले कौवा ढाल मकें दे सुणो थाल
(Come dear crow, come daily you will enjoy eating bara and puwa. Take the bara and give me a pitcher full of gold. Take the shield and give me a golden plate.)

Multicolored sugar halwa surrounded by til-gurd (sesame and jaggery) ladoos. These exchanged and eaten on Makar Sankranti in Maharashtra

In Maharashtra on the Makar Sankranti (मकर संक्रान्ति) day people exchange multi-colored halwa (sugar granules coated in sugar syrup) and til-gurd ladoos (sweetmeats made from sesame seeds and jaggery). Puranpolis (flat bread stuffed with jaggery) are offered for lunch. While exchanging tilgurds as tokens of goodwill people greet each other with the words, "Til-gurd khaya, aani gord gord bola" meaning ‘Accept these tilguls and speak sweet words’. The under-lying thought in the exchange of tilgurds is to forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends.

This is a special day for the women in Maharashtra when married women are invited for a get-together called ‘Haldi-Kumkum’ (literally meaning turmeric and vermillion) and given gifts such as utensil, clothes etc. Typically, women wear black sarees or black coloured outfits on this occasion. The significance of wearing black is that Sankranti comes at the peak of the winter season and black colour retains and absorbs heat, helping keep warm.[citation needed] Maharastra is also famous for kite flying on this special occasion.

In Orissa people prepare 'makar chaula(uncooked newly harvested rice, banana, coconut, jaggery, sesame, Rasagola, Khai/Liaa and chhena puddings for naivedya to gods and goddesses.The withdrawing winter entails change in food habits & intake of nourishing and rich food. Therefore this festival also holds immense scientific significance. According to the Sun's movement, the days from this day onwards become lengthy and warmer and so the Sun-God is worshipped as a great benefactor. Makar Mela is observed at Dhabaleswar in Cuttack, Hatakeshwar at Atri in Puri, Makar Muni temple in Balasore and near various deities in each district of Orissa. In the temple of Lord Jagannath this festival is observed as Nabanki and 'Uttarayana Yatra'. In Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar,kalahandi, koraput and Sundargarh where the tribal population is more, the festival is celebrated with great joy. They have been celebrating this festival with great enthusiasm. They sing, dance and enjoy. Many tribals in our country start their New Year from the day of Sankranti by lighting bonfires, dancing and eating their particular dishes sitting together. The Bhunya tribals of Orissa have their Maghyatra in which small home-made articles are put for sale.

In Punjab where December and January are the coldest months of the year, huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Makar Sankranti and is celebrated as Lohri. Sweets, sugarcane and rice are thrown in the bonfires, around which friends and relatives gather together. The following day, which is Sankrant, is celebrated as Maghi. Bathing in any river in the early hours on Maghi is important. Hindus light lamps with sesame oil as this is supposed to give prosperity and drive away all sins. The Punjabis dance their famous dance known as "Bhangra". Then they sit down and eat the sumptuous food that is specially prepared for the occasion. It is traditional to eat "kheer", rice cooked in milk and sugar.

This is one of the major festivals in the state of Rajasthan. It is known as "Makar Sakrat" in the Rajasthani language. This day is celebrated with sweets like Ghevar, Til-paati, Gajak, kheer etc.. Although traditionally flying kites is observed as a part of this festival. On this occasion the sky in Jaipur is filled with kites. People invite friends and relatives to their home for special festival meals (called as "Sakrat Bhoj").

Tamil Nadu
It is a four day festival in Tamil Nadu:

Day 1 - Bhogi Pandigai (Bhogi)
Day 2 - Thai Pongal
Day 3 - Maattu Pongal
Day 4 - Kaanum Pongal

The festival is celebrated four days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai.

The first day of festival is Bhogi. It is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old clothes and materials, by setting them on fire, marking the end of the old and the emergence of the new.

The second day of festival is Thai Pongal or simply Pongal. It is the main day of the festival, falling on the first day of the Tamil month Thai. It is celebrated by boiling rice with fresh milk and jaggery in new pots, which are later topped with brown sugar, cashew nuts and raisins early in the morning and allowing it to boil over the vessel. This tradition gives Pongal its name. The moment the rice boils over and bubbles out of the vessel, the tradition is to shout of "Ponggalo Ponggal!" and blowing the sangu (a conch), a custom practiced during the festival to announce it was going to be a year blessed with good tidings. Then New boiled rice is offered to the Nature during sunrise, a gesture which symbolises thanks to the sun and nature for providing prosperity. It is later served to the people present in the house for the ceremony. People also prepare savories and sweets such as vadai, murukku, payasam and visit each other and exchange greetings.

The third day of festival is Maattu Pongal. It is for offering thanks to cattle, as they help farmer in different ways for agriculture. On this day the cattle are decorated with paint, flowers and bells. They are allowed to roam free and fed sweet rice and sugar cane. Some people decorate the horns with gold or other metallic covers. In some places, Jallikattu, or taming the wild bull contest, is the main event of this day and this is mostly seen in the villages.

The fourth day of the festival is Kaanum Pongal (the word kaanum means "to view"). During this day people visit their relatives, friends to enjoy the festive season. This day is a day to thank relatives and friends for their support in the harvest. It started as a farmers festival, called as Uzhavar Thirunaal in Tamil. Kolam decorations are made in front of the house during Thai Pongal festival.

Uttar Pradesh
In Hindu Mythology this is the first of the big bathing days. Over two million people gather at their respective sacred places for this holy bathing such as Allahabad, Haridwar(Haridwar is now in another state called 'Uttarakhand) and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Kite flying in the rooftops of Varanasi

Kite flying is an inevitable part of the festival in Uttar Pradesh, as with many states of India such as Gujarat and Maharashtra. Like other places in India, the references to Til (Sesame seeds) and Gud (Jaggery) are also found in the songs sung on this day

Meethe GUD me mil gaya TIL,
Udi PATANG aur khil gaye DIL,
Jeevan me bani rahe SUKH aur SHANTI,

West Bengal
In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known as Poush Sankranti named after the Bengali month in which it falls, is celebrated as a harvest festival Poush Parbon (Bengali: পৌষ পার্বণ). (It always falls on 14 January on the English calendar). The freshly harvested paddy along with the date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur (Bengali: খেজুরের গুড়)and Patali (Bengali: পাটালি ) is used in the preparation of a variety of traditional Bengali sweets made with rice flour, coconut, milk and 'khejurer gur' (palm jaggery) and known as Pithey (Bengali: পিঠে). All sections of society participate in a three-day begins on the day before Sankranti and ends on the day after. The Goddess Lakshmi is usually worshipped on the day of Sankranti. In the Himalayan regions of Darjeeling, the festival is known as Magey Sakrati. It is distinctly associated with the worship of Lord Shiva. Traditionally, people were required to take a bath before sunrise and then commence their pooja. The food that is consumed consists primarily of sweet potatoes and various yams.

Millions of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar (the point where the river Ganges meets the Bay of Bengal).[11] Ganga Sagar falls in West Bengal.

Many Melas or fairs are held on Makar Sankranti the most famous being the Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years at one of four holy locations, namely Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nashik. The Magh Mela (or mini-Kumbh Mela held annually at Prayag) and the Gangasagar Mela (held at the head of the Ganges River, where it flows into the Bay of Bengal). Makar Mela in Orissa. Tusu Mela also called as Tusu Porab is celebrated in many parts of Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Celebrations in the India
This festival is celebrated differently in different parts of the country yet the use of til that is sesame is found everywhere. Til or sesame seed contain lot of oil and they therefore have a quality of softness in them. People are encouraged to emulate themselves like the Til which holds people together and sticks to them with the bondage of love. Therefore, firstly the use of til in sweets is good for health and secondly being soft means exchange of love and tender feelings.
  • In Gujarat Sankrant is observed more or less in the same manner as in Maharashtra but with a difference that in Gujarat there is a custom of giving gifts to relatives. The elders in the family give gifts to the younger members of the family.
  • In Punjab huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankrant and which is celebrated as "LOHARI".  The following day, which is Sankrant is celebrated as MAGHI. The Punjabi's dance their famous Bhangra dance till they get exhausted. Then they sit down and eat the sumptuous food that is specially prepared for the occasion. 
  • In Madhya Pradesh this festival of Sankrant is known by the name "SUKARAT" or "SAKARAT" and is celebrated with great pomp merriment accompanied by lot of sweets. 
  • In South Sankrant is known by the name of "PONGAL", which takes its name from the surging of rice boiled in a pot of milk, and this festival has more significance than even Diwali. It is very popular particularly amongst farmers.  
  • In Uttar Pradesh, Sankrant is called "KICHERI". Having bath on this day is regarded as most important. Uttar Pradesh, one who does not bathe on Makara Sankranti is born a donkey in his next birth. The belief probably originated in cold climates to compel some of the more reluctant people to observe certain rules of hygiene. 
In Bengal every year a Mela is held at Ganga Sagar.
The day prior to the Makara Sankranti is called the Bhogi festival. On this day, old, worn-out and dirty things are discarded and burnt. Homes are cleaned and white-washed. Even the roads are swept clean and lovely designs are drawn with rice-flour. These practices have their own significance from the point of view of health. Cleaning the mind of its old dirty habits of thought and feeling is more urgently needed.

Things Required in MAKAR SANKRANTI
The festival associated with this date is one of exchange of goodwill.

Things Required:
1. Sesame seeds (Til)
2. Jaggery
3. Groundnuts
4. Dried coconut
5. Chana/Moong dal fried
6. Sugarcane
7. Bananas
8. Idols made of sugar
9. New clothes for all Various kinds of pongal

The family bathes early in the morning and wears new clothes. Rangoli designs decorate the threshold and pooja room. After the regular family pooja each according to practice visits are made and visitors received.

The special preparation of the day is Yellu made of the mixture of sesame seeds, pieces of jaggery, halved grountnut seeds, dried coconut pieces and fried dal. This is given to visitors and carried to all familiars, friends and relatives in a gesture of goodwill. In all familes, sugarcane is cut up into pieces and distributed to friends and relatives. Sugar idols are offered.

Newly-weds give bunches of bananas to women and continue to do so for the first five years of marriage, increasing the number of bunches in multiples of 5 each year. If there is a new-born male child, then silver cups filled with fried savories are gifted to five or seven women.


There are delicacies cooked on this day. Favorites are different kinds of pongal and vada. Salted pongal is served with avial, a mixed vegetable curry.

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