Say Goodbye to the Plum Cakes and Christmas Trees and ‘Hello’ to sesame (til) chikkis and Kites!
India’s Harvest Festival is just around the corner. And while you’re busy trying to compete on the rooftop with your neighbour’s kite and depleting the world’s supply of sesame, think back a little on what all you know about the festival, other than it being colourful and playful ?
This Makar Sankranti , we’re telling you 10 Interesting facts we bet, you didn’t know !
- It is the only Indian Festival that follows the solar calendar. That’s why it falls on the same day every year – 14th of January.
- Over ages, the date of Makar Sankranti has changed. A 1000 years ago, this festival was celebrated on 31st of December.The modification in date happens thanks to the orientation change in the motion axis of the Earth.
- It has a different name and a different style of celebration across the country. Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Makar Sankranti in Maharashtra & other states, Uttarayan in Gujarat, Lohri in Punjab, Bhogali Bihu in Assam.
- It is the beginning of Spring Time ! The night and day of the festival are equally long. The day indicates the beginning of warmer and longer days. It’s also when the sun starts its journey away from the Tropic of Capricorn and towards the northern hemisphere. From now on, the weather starts becoming warmer.
- Kite Flying is an integral part of the celebrations.The scientific significance of this age-old tradition is that the Sun finally restores its capacity after a long winter and cleanses our bodies off infections and germs while we make merry flying kites. Kites can be as small as nine inches or as big as three feet. The kite string is popularly known as Manjha.
- It is believed that kites first flew roughly 2800 years ago in China. This is because the materials required – silk fabric, high tensile strength silk for flying line, and resilient bamboo, were easily available.
- Makar Sankranti is associated with pilgrimage. In Uttar Pradesh, Kumbh Mela starts with Makar Sankranti. In West Bengal it is Gangasagar or Sagardweep mela. Pilgrims take a dip in holy river water to wash off all their sins.
- It’s also know as the Thanksgiving of India. It is believed that during the festival, the Sun God forgets his anger on his son Shani and visits him.
- Makar Sankranti is the festival of til-gul where sesame and jaggery laddoos or chikkis are distributed among all.
- Makar Sankranti denotes the transition of sun from the zodiac Sagittarius to Capricorn. Makar is the Sanskrit word for Capricorn while Sankranti is the Sanskrit word for transition.And that’s why it’s called ‘Makar Sankranti’
Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and safe Makar Sankranti!