Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India each year on the 14th of January. It is one of the few Indian festivals celebrated all over India on the same date each year. People have a lot of memories with their families on this day. The festival has tons of names but the fervor of celebration is the same all over!
1. Maghe Sankrantri – NepalThey too celebrate the festival with nuvvula laddu’s and other such delicacies. One of the legends has it that, a businessman had a sack of sesame seeds which never seemed to end. On digging through the bag, he found an idol of Lord Vishnu in the bag and hence, sesame seeds became auspicious.
2. Makara Sankrantri – Andhra Pradesh and TelanganaThe festival lasts for 4 days in these regions. They celebrate it with nomulu, poojas, laddus, rangolis and also families. The first day is Bhoghi, second Makara Sankrantri, third is Kanuma and fourth is Mukkanuma.
3. Til Sankrantri or Sakarat – Bihar and JharkhandThe festival is a 2-day festival in Bihar and Jharkhand where the people take holy dips in the river early in the morning and then, have bonfires into which they offer sesame seeds.
4. Sakraat – Delhi and HaryanaThe festival of Makar Sankranti holds special value in the states of Delhi and Haryana as it also celebrates the special bond between brothers and their married sisters. Brothers visit their married sisters and gift them warm clothes and sweets. Similarly, the wives also gift their in-laws and husband’s families on the day. All the men and women congregate in a common place and celebrate the festival by singing songs and with music.
5. Uttarayan – GujaratMakar Sankranti is celebrated on a lavish scale in Gujarat and the state also has a special International Kite Flying festival. People stay at home on leave and after prayers in the morning, congregate on terrace tops with their kites.
6. Magha Saaji – Himachal PradeshSaaji is the local word for Sankrant and Magha is the name of the month and the sun-sign (capricorn) that commences with the arrival of the festival. The day signals a change in seasons and people welcome spring by taking a dip in the rivers or bathe in holy water.
7. Suggi – KarnatakaSuggi is the harvest festival of Karnataka celebrated mainly by farmers and the women. The women visit each other’s houses in a ritual known as Ellu Birodhu and they carry a plate of offerings and sweets with them for exchange. The plate has sesame seeds and jaggery, and other nuts like fried ground nuts and coconut, sugar-cane pieces and sugar candies.
8. Ghughuti or Kale Kauva – UttarakhandIn Uttarakhand, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as the festival of the migratory birds as they believe it is the season for the birds to end their migration. The locals give khichdi and other food as charity and organise fairs and meet-ups. Sweetmeats are made out of sweetened flour by frying them and then asking the children to offer these sweets to crows as a blessing for the migratory birds on their homeward journey.
9. Maghi – PunjabAlso celebrated as Lohri, Maghi signals the change to warmer weather and the day holds a special place in the hearts of the residents of Punjab. They bathe early in the morning and light lamps with sesame oil to drive away the darkness (from life) and bring in the prosperity.
11. Poush Parbon – West BengalPoush Parbon is celebrated in West Bengal. The festival falls on the last day of the Hindu month of Poush and signals the beginning of Magha and hence, it is named after the month. Special palm jaggery, Khejurer Gur, that is available only during this period, is used to prepare sweets and delicacies.