Makar Sankranti marks the first day of the Sun’s transit into the Capricorn zodiac (Makar Rashi). A day of thanksgiving in the Indian subcontinent, Makar Sankranti is known by different names in different parts of the country, such as, Lohri for north Indians and Sikhs, Sukarat for people from central India, Bhogali Bihu in Assam, and Pongal in South India.
A harvest festival that expresses gratitude for the staples that fuel our existence, Makar Sankranti heralds a time of celebration, joy, hope, and a drive to soar high. In some parts of the country, colorful kites adorning the skies fill ignite hope for a brighter year ahead and the drive to shine in the face of competition.
While most Indian festivals are set by the lunar cycle, Makar Sankranti sets itself apart by being one of the few that is observed according to the solar cycle. It is a revered time of the year and it is believed that if you die on Makar Sankranti you are absolved from rebirth.
No Indian celebration can even be imagined without food and such it is with Makar Sankranti too. (Watch Sakshi Tanwar cook Sakkarai & Chola Paniyaram as she celebrates Makar Sankranti with Virender Sehwag in Tyohaar Ki Thaali)
The harvest season brings with it fresh and abundant produce of various crops. Some of these staples like sesame (til), rice, jaggery are used in regional delicacies like til ke ladoo, til-patti, gajak, sweet pongal etc. that are shared during the festival. The distribution of sweets signifies bonding, forgetting the past and simply spreading sweetness.
Makar Sankranti covers the subcontinent with unique celebrations and warmth that bids adieu to the winters.