Bhubaneswar: Makar Sankranti is one of the most famous harvest festivals celebrated in several parts of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. It generally falls on the 14th or 15th January of every year.
Makar Sankranti marks the day when the sun enters the zodiac of makar (Capricorn). Sankranti, on the other hand signifies light. It also gives the message of intellectual illumination.
It also marks the end of the unholy and inauspicious month of ‘Pausa’ according to the Odia Almanac. ‘Magha’ a highly auspicious month starts from this day.
It is the capacity to discriminate between the right and the wrong, the just and the unjust, truth and falsehood, virtue and vice.
Traditionally, the day coincided with the northward movement of sun having reached its southern most point, the phenomenon known as uttarayan in Vedic philosophy.
It also symbolises the end of the winter solstice which makes the day last longer than the night.
The biggest Mela is held once in twelve years in Prayaag, the holy confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati, the Kumbha Mela which draws nearly one crore devotees.
Kites Are Flown During Makar:
The tradition of kite flying is for a healthy exposure to the early morning sun. The rays are very healthy and provide a rich source of Vitamin D.
The sunlight also helps in getting rid of skin infections and diseases. The sun rays act as a major disinfectant helping in curing colds.
Til/ Sesame Ladoos Occupy Central Place:
Tilgud Or Sesame Jaggery Ladoos are the main sweet dish of this festival. It is typically derived from Maharashtrian culture.
These ladoos are made and distributed among loved ones. This signifies bonding and forgetting ill past and simply spreading sweetness.
The scientific importance of these ladoos is that the sesame seeds help in keeping the body warm. They also provide a good amount of oil which is essential in providing moisture to the skin during winters.
Celebrations In Odisha:
Most religious people of Odisha prefer to take a holy dip near the Sun temple at Chandrabhaga, near Konark on this day. ‘Makar Melas’ are organized at several places.
Makar Chaula is the mandatory prasad prepared in Odisha on this day. 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.
Celebrations In Bengal:
In Bengal a very big Mela is held every year at ‘Ganga Sagar’ where the river Ganga is believed to have dived into the nether region.
Mythology says that the ashes of the sixty thousand ancestors of King Bhagirath were dropped into the river at this spot. This mela is attended by a large number of pilgrims from all over the country.
Makar Sankranti Puja Mantra:
Oum Suryaaya Namah: Oum Adityaaya Namah: Oum Saptarchise Namah