Festivities Are In The Air
The new year has just begun bringing with it hope and joy. The days just pass in the blink of an eye and it's time we start gearing up for one of the major festivals celebrated in India Lohri, followed by Makar Sankranti or Pongal.
Lohri marks the passing of the winter solstice. It marks the end of winter and is a traditional welcome of longer days and the sun's journey to the northern hemisphere. sit is celebrated the night before Makar Sankranti also known as Maghi.
Popular folklore links Lohri to the tale of Dulla Bhatti. The legend of Dulla Batti lived in Punjab during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar. He was regarded as a hero in Punjab for saving many girls from being forcibly taken to the Middle East. As a part of the celebrations, children go around singing the Lohri Folklore with the mention of Dulla Batti in it. After the song ends, the adults of the home give snacks and money to the children.
The festival is celebrated by lighting bonfires, eating festive food, singing and dancing. People dress up in their brightest clothes and dance to the beat of the dhol. It is also a mark of the harvest season. Sugarcane harvest is celebrated. It is traditional to eat sarsoon da saag, Makki di roti, radish, groundnuts and jaggery.
Also, it is time to let go of all the grudges and negativity and embrace love and optimism.
The day following Lohri is Makar Sankranti. It marks the first day of the sun\"s transit into Makara rashi. It is known as Magh Bihu in Assam, Maghi in Punjab, Uttarain in Jammu, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Makara Sankranti in Maharashtra, Goa, Odisha and Karnataka.
Beautiful rangolis are designed outside the house. Rural children go from house to house asking for treats. Melas, kite flying, bonfire and feasts are arranged at various places. Many visit the sacred rivers and bathe in them while offering their salutations to the Sun God.
It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of India. Many melas are held during this festive season, the most famous being the Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years at one of the four locations Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain, Nashik.
In Maharashtra people exchange multicoloured halwa(sugar granules coated in sugar syrup), til-gul laddoo, puran poli(Sweet chapathi).
Til gul is exchanged as goodwill when people greet each other. Married women invite friends for Haldi kumkum. Guests are given a small gift as a part of the ritual.
According to a source, Lord Surya forgave his son Shani and his son visited him on Sankranti. This is the reason behind distributing sweets among people urging them to let go of negativity and anger.
This festive season let us let go of all the resentment and pray that health and peace must prevail.
Wish you all a very happy Lohri, Makar Sankranti.