The Magic of Makar Sankranti: From Holy Dips to Kite-Flying
All you need to know about Makar Sankranti.
Makar Sankranti is a festival that brings out the spirit of India in its truest form. The vibrant festival transgresses geographical boundaries and is celebrated with much pomp and show across various states in myriad ways. The cultural significance varies but the spirit remains the same. People across the country welcome the harvest season with open arms.
Makar Sankranti is the first festival to be celebrated as per the English calendar. It falls on 14 January every year. It is believed that after Makar Sankranti, the days grow longer and the nights shorter till the next equinox.
Makar Sankranti or Sankrant, as it is popularly called, is also known for its sesame sweets and kite-flying.
Why Is Makar Sankranti Celebrated?
Makar Sankranti is considered as the harbinger of auspicious times. It is also around Makar Sankranti that days start getting longer and nights shorter. Sankranti is celebrated all across India and is known by different names in different parts of the country. In Gujarat as Uttarayan, in Tamil Nadu as Pongal, in Haryana and Punjab as Maghi.
Predominantly a harvest festival, Makar Sankranti is accompanied by delicious winter dishes and lots of colour. People celebrate the festival by having til ke laddo, jaggery, chikkis.
Makar Sankranti is also believed to herald peace and prosperity. This is why people can be seen taking holy dips to cleanse themselves of their sins and enjoying with near and dear ones.
Melas and fairs are held in different parts of the country to celebrate Makar Sankranti.The festival generally marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh.
Kite Flying on Makar Sankranti
Why do we fly kites during Makar Sankranti?
There are several stories behind it, none of which is actually authenticated. They, nevertheless, form the basis of much of the celebration we have been witnessing since many years.
The tradition of kite flying has been explained from health perspective by several people. Many believe that it started as a way to expose the body to the initial rays of the sun which are rich in vitamin D.
Another story says, the higher your kite flies, the more you will rise in life.
The healthy competition, and the fun and frolic that accompanies kite flying makes it rather popular a tradition even today.
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