Bhubaneswar: Makar Sankranti is being celebrated in Odisha amid the Covid guidelines issued by State government Revenue and Disaster Management Department.
Reportedly, congregations at river banks, ghats, ponds, sea shores or near other water bodies for bathing has been prohibited throughout the state.
Since large crowd gather at the temples on the occasion, the order also said that all religious places will remain closed. However religious rituals are allowed with bare minimum priests/ servitors and staff.
The people have been advised to perform the rituals/puja on the occasion at home with family members only avoiding mass gatherings and adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most famous harvest festivals celebrated in several parts of India.
The devotees also pay tribute to the Sun God and express gratitude towards him for blessing us with his warm and glowing rays.
On this occasion, people usually go for a holy dip in sacred water bodies, perform charity by giving alms to the needy, fly kites, prepare sweets made of sesame and jaggery
In Odisha, Makar Chaula is the mandatory prasad prepared on this occasion. It is prepared from freshly harvested rice. Jaggery replaces the use of sugar in this preparation.
Many tribals in Odisha start their New Year from the day of Sankranti by lighting bonfires, dancing and eating their particular dishes sitting together. The Bhuiya tribe of Odisha celebrates a famous ‘Magh jatra’ in which small home-made and handicraft articles are put out for sale.
However, the celebrations in Odisha has been restricted due to the rapid spike in Covid cases including the rising number of Omicron positives across the State.