The harvest festivals have commenced in India. We celebrated Lohri on 13th January and on 14th January India celebrated Makar Sankranti 2021. A traditional religious festival celebrated in different parts of India with vigour, joy, liveliness and with the hope of a brighter and happier year and life ahead. The positivity can be felt in the air with the new harvests from the fields, the aroma of the sweets prepared and the humming of the melodious folk songs and dances. I am also not an exception to the celebrations, eagerly prepared and served the traditional sweets of Makar Sankranti 2021.
The History – Makar Sankranti 2021
As per the Hindu mythology, Sankranti is the name of a Goddess. She killed a demon called Sankarasur on the day of Makar Sankranti. On the next day, she slew another demon called Kinkarasur and hence the day is named as Kinkrant or Karidin.
People also worship the Sun God on this auspicious day by offering sweets made of sesame seeds, jaggery and rice flour. The tradition is symbolic in erasing out pessimism and brightening lives with optimism. The first harvests of the season are offered to God as a mark of respect and to seek his blessings.
Significance – Makar Sankranti 2021
Traditionally, devotees dip themselves in the holy rivers of Ganga, Yamuna, Krishna, Godavari or Kaveri. It is believed that bathing in the rivers removes the sins from the lives of the people earning them purity. They also offer their prayers to the Sun God seeking prosperity, health and wealth. In the rural areas, people light bonfires and circle around them dancing and singing the folk songs of that region. Sweets made of sesame seeds, jaggery and rice flour are prepared and offered to the Gods. It is a festival of harmony and togetherness, instilling a feeling of unity and peace among the people.
Makar Sankranti 2021 was celebrated in various ways in different parts of India, just like all other years but with minimal gatherings due to the COVID19 situation in the world. People indulged in kite flying with family and friends, a tradition being followed from generations. The sky can be seen adorned with vibrant coloured and artistically shaped kites flying high above and sometimes crisscrossing each other.
People wear new clothes to mark the commencement of the harvest festival. They prepare an array of sweets and prepare a special lunch and dinner at home. Guests are welcome and served snacks and sweets as customary traditions. Colourful rangolis (floor patterns) are created at certain households with flowers or coloured powders. In some rural areas, bullfights are organized as one of the sports activities.
Makar Sankranti 2021 welcomed the initiation of the melas or fairs in certain parts of the country; though the attendance was less compared to other years due to the strict norms of precaution. In the fairs, traditional and hand made crafts and paintings, household items, are sold. Representatives from various states of the country set up stalls to showcase their handicrafts, art and crafts, traditional instruments etc.
The Holy Gangasagar Mela
Another significant aspect of Makar Sankranti 2021, just like the previous years, was the famous holy Gangasagar Mela or fair held in the state of west bengal. The fair is held in an island called Gangasagar or Sagar Island, situated in the southern part of the state. Devotees and pilgrims from all over India and abroad Nepal, Thailand, Japan, West Indies, Canada, and Australia arrive at the fairgrounds to dip into the Holy Ganges river and offer their prayers. You can experience the confluence of the river Ganges and the majestic ocean Bay of Bengal at Sagar Island. Other than the auspicious essence, Sagar island is a great place for tourism to witness nature's incredible beauty. Watching the sunrise and the sunset from the lighthouse at the beach is something which you must not miss.
If you are planning to visit India during the winters, January is the best time for globetrotters who love experiential travelling. You can enjoy the festivals and get acquainted with the traditions and customs observed in different parts of India.
A travel enthusiast craving to explore the exotic destinations in the world, deciphering the mysteries and the thrill concealed in them.