Makar Sankranti is famous for its sesame sweets and kite flying. But there is much more to this festival that is a celebration of the Winter Solstice. It is a famous Hindu festival celebrated joyously in India and Nepal. This is the only festival that falls every year on the same day as per the Gregorian Calendar, thus making it a unique preposition.
On Makar Sankranti, the sun enters the sun-sign of Capricorn or Makara (the Indian Rashi). Therefore, the 'Makar' in the name. The word 'Sankranti' signifies the movement of the sun from one zodiac sign to another. Thus, the name of the festival literally means the movement of the sun into Capricorn. This is the reason why it is specifically called Makar Sankranti.
As the festival falls on the equinox and one of the oldest solstice, the day and night are equal on Makar Sankranti. Post the celebration of this festival; it is the official onset of spring or Indian summers when the days become longer and the nights shorter.
It is a festival of relishing and indulging in the sweets. So, pamper your sweet tooth this festive season with til, gur, revri and gazak and let the calories take a toll. There is a popular saying which goes like this, “Til-gul ghya ani gud gud bola” it means that consume a lot of sesame seeds and jaggery and utter sweet words. Also, the intake of sweets like this is beneficial for the health during the winter season to help keep the body warm.
Makar Sankranti also observes the flying of colourful bright kites when the blue sky is adorned with beautiful kites all around. The reason behind this is believed to be quite scientific since, during the winters, people are infused with bacteria and certain germs due to non-exposure of sunlight. Hence, basking in the sun rays during the early mornings can help to reap the benefits while flying kites. Isn’t it cool?
Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh while, in the south, the difficult pilgrimage of Shabrimala ends on this auspicious day. It is believed if you die in Makar Sankranti, you will reborn and directly go to heaven.