Makar Sankranti is a popular Indian festival celebrated in many parts of India. It is known as the harvest festival. Makar Sankranti or Sankranti is also known as Pongal in South India. It is an important ‘Thanksgiving’ festival of India. Makar Sankranti signifies a bountiful harvest and flourishing of wealth. People believe that by thanking God, they will remain happy and lead a healthy life and reap success throughout the year. This essay on Makar Sankranti will help students know all about this festival, how it is celebrated in different parts of India and its significance. Students can also check out the list of CBSE Essays to practise more essays on different topics and boost their writing skills. By improving the writing section, they can participate in various writing competitions as well.
Astronomical Importance of Makar Sankranti Festival
Makara Sankramana marks the commencement of the Sun’s northern course (Uttarayana). This change of the Sun’s course takes place at the point of time when it enters the sign of Makara (Capricorn). Therefore this festival is named as “Makar Sankranti”. In Sanskrit the word ‘Sankranti’ means transition. On this day, the Sun begins its northward movement, and the Hindu almanacks call this northward transition of the Sun as Uttarayana patha. The day also coincides with the commencement of the Tamil month Thai. The day usually falls on 14th January every year. This is the only festival that adapts to the solar (Hindu) calendar. The other festival dates are determined according to the lunar calendar.
Makar Sankranti has a special significance because it marks a “new beginning”. From this day onwards, the duration of the day increases, and the night decreases gradually in the northern hemisphere. It is celebrated in different parts of India through different traditions and customs. It is believed that holy dip in perennial rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, and Kaveri will have huge significance. Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of the world-famous Kumbh-Mela in Uttar Pradesh. Whereas in South India, it marks the end of a sacred pilgrimage Śabarimala.
Different Names of Makar Sankranti Festival in Different Regions
The Makar Sankranti festival is known by various names in different states of India. In Uttar Pradesh, Sankranti is celebrated with the name Khichdi’. In Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, it is called Lohri. In Assam, it is known as Bhogali Bihu. In West Bengal and Orissa, it is simply celebrated as Makar Sankranti. It is still more simply called Sankranti in Bihar, Karnataka and Kerala. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, the festival is named as Uttarayan.
Makar Sankranti Celebration
Makar Sankranti marks the end of winter and the arrival of the spring season in India. This festival is celebrated at the end of the harvest season, giving farmers a break from their daily routine. Farmers perform pooja to signal the end of the traditional harvest. It is celebrated differently in different regions of India. It is a 3 to 4 days festival, and each day has special rituals associated with it. People take bath in a holy river as they believe it will wash off their past sins. They offer prayer to the Sun God to offer prosperity and success in their life. People from all over the world come to attend the famous Kumbh Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. People wish each other Happy Makar Sankranti by exchanging the laddu made of jaggery and til.
The main attractions of Sankranti are rangoli, til laddu and kite flying. The home fronts are decorated with beautiful rangoli. Kite flying is an important event of this festival. People fly kites of different colours and do kite flying competitions. Most rooftops are crowded with neighbours and relatives competing against each other.
Makar Sankranti is an occasion for us to recognize the “newness” of our being. We cannot control what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. But, we can live with full awareness in the present and experience the newness of our being and the nature around us.
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