Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Makar Sankranti!

"Makar Sankranti" This is the first festival which starts a chain of festivlas in the new year in India. I may not be wrong if I say that "India is the land of Festivals". Sankranti as it is also called  as  is one of the very few festivals which is celebrated always on the 14th of Janauary and which is based on the movement of "SURYA" The Sun God"! Unlike most of the Indian festivlas which are calculated by the Hindu calender, which is based on the movement of the moon and therefore it is called as a "Lunar Calender", this festival is based on the solar movement and therefore is based on the English calender. This festival signals the end of the winter season and the beginning of the spring. There are also different legends and myths assosiated with this festival, nights starts to get shorten and the days start to get longer. Spring starts !!!  You can read more here  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makar_Sankranti

 In the States of Rajasthan (Jaipur, where yours truly is from) and Gujart mainly colorful kites are flown throughout the day and delicasies are prepared. Actually if I remember correctly as a child we used to start fly kites soon after Diwali was over and the days started to cool. After that Christmas and new years holidays were mostly spent on the terraces to fly kites.The closer Sankrant came the madness multiplied with loud music on the terraceds, OH! how I loved it!

So now back to Sankranti. In the whole country this festival  is assosicated with Harvest but still every State celebrate it in a different way and a different name. In the south of India this festival is called as "Pongal" (meaning "Kitchdi" a dish made with Rice and Lentils) the people celebrate and worship crops and "Surya the Sun God". Cows are bathed, dressed up and worshipped too. People also take baths in the holy rivers in India. Rangolis are made. On this day people pray for a good crop. New clothes are worn by the whole family, delicasies are prepared and also exchanged. In Punjab it is called as "Lohri" and is celebrated with a huge festive appetie with good food and the world famours Punjabi dance" Bhangra". In the central part of India, the State of Maharashtra sweets are prepared with "Sesame and Jaggery" and women do some charity or rather distrubut gifts. Charity can be given to poor people in the form of food, rice, jaggery, clothes, money etc. and in between family and friends little things are exchanged. I remember my Mom also started doing this and mostly the number of gifts are 14!!! I never knew why? Will ask her soon.

These are kites made from very fine paper and very fine thread is used to fly them up. In the city of Jodhpur special kite festvial takes place, have a look.  http://www.rajasthantoursoperatorindia.com/Attraction/Fair_Festival/kite_festival.html  


Rangoli, is a decoration made either with colors or with flowers in the above case.

Happy Sankranti !!!

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