Makar Sankranti is one of the important festivals celebrated in India, marks the start of sun’s six-month long journey towards North (Uttarayana). Makar Sankranti, pongal festival is happens around January 14 each year. As per Ethics in Hindu this festival is considered as auspicious and marks this as the beginning of sun’s movement towards the Moon sign Capricorn (Makar Rashi)
According to Ethics in Hindu, the Sun represents knowledge, spiritual light and wisdom. Makar Sankranti signifies that we should rotate away from the darkness to enjoy a new life with bright light within us to shine brighter and brighter. We should gradually begin to grow in purity, wisdom and knowledge as the Sun starts from the Day of Makar Sankranti.
Makar Sankranti, Pongal is a main festival celebrated in South India and it’s festival of about four days. The first day is called Bhogi. People burn and get rid of old household items and purchase new one on this day. This marks the start of a new cycle. The second day is Perum, also famous as Surya Pongal, and is the most important day of Pongal. People worship the Lord Surya by offering prayers on this day. Many people also wear new clothes and women decorate houses with Kolam(designs) using rice flour and red clay.
Mattu Pongal is the third day and celebrated by worshipping cattle which helps in giving a good harvest. The fourth day is called Kanum Pongal, on this day people go on picnic and spend time with families and friends. The Pongal festival also includes exchanging gifts, dancing, and buffalo-taming contests. In some parts in south India it’s a public Holiday
This is a special festival for the women in Maharashtra. where married womens are invited for a get-together called ‘Haldi-Kunku’ and given gifts such as utensil, clothes, etc. Typically, women wear black sarees or black colored outfits on this occasion. The significance of wearing black is that Sankranti comes at the peak of the winter season and black color retains and absorbs heat, helping keep warm. In Maharastra this festival also famous for kite flying.
In Maharashtra Makar Sankranti (मकर संक्रान्ति) is celebrated with exchanging multi-colored Halwa (sugar granules coated in sugar syrup) and Teel-Gul ladoos the sweetmeats made from sesame seeds and jaggery. Gulachi Poli is offered for lunch. While exchanging Teel-gul as symbol of goodwill people meet each other with the words, “तिळगुळ घ्या आणि गोड गोड बोला/ Teel-gul ghya, aani god god bola” meaning ‘Accept these Teel guls and speak sweet words’. And underlying thought in turn to forget the past bad feelings and decide to speak sweetly and stay friends.