Maghi 2022: Makar Sankranti is celebrated across the country in different ways and the cultural significance of the festival varies geographically as we move from one state to another, with every state celebrating and welcoming the new season of harvest in their own indigenous manner.
It is one of the major Indian harvest festival celebrated on 14th of January of every year.
It’s an important festival of the Hindus and celebrated almost everywhere in the country in myriad cultural forms and different names.
Every region celebrates it in innumerable ways, according to the localization, culture and traditions.
Maghi 2022: Date
Makar Sankranti festival is a solar event that makes the day one of the few Hindu festivals to be held annually on the same date in Gregorian Calendar, 14 January, with some exceptions for the 15 January.
This festival is highly auspicious as it marks the first day of the Sun’s entry to Zodiac Sign, Capricorn or Makara.
Maghi 2022: Significance
For spiritual practices, the day is considered essential, and people, therefore, take a holy dip in the rivers, particularly Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery. According to the believes, bathing in holy river washes away sins.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in different regions of the Indian subcontinent to observe the day that marks the sun’s change into ever-longer days. Every year its celebration’s fixed date makes this festival stand out from the other Indian Hindu Festivals. Makar means Capricorn, and the Sankranti means transformation.
Makar Sankranti is also named Uttarayan because, from this day on, the sun starts its journey northward. As a sign of divinity and wisdom, Hindus revere the Sun God. After this change, days become longer and warmer compared to nights.
The harvest festival is observed, albeit under different names and customs, throughout India. Depending on the area it is being celebrated with different names like Pongal in South India and Maghi in Punjab.
Maghi 2022: History
Sankranti is a Goddess. According to legends, Goddess Sankranti killed a devil called Sankarasur.
Karidin or Kinkrant are named the day next to Makar Sankrant. Devi slaughtered the devil Kinkarasur on this day.
Makar Sankranti’s knowledge is available in Panchang. The Panchang is the Hindu Almanac that offers details on Sankranti’s age, shape, dress, path, and movement.
Devotees take a holy dip in many rivers that are deemed sacred on the festival’s day, including Yamuna, Ganga, Krishna, Godavari, and Cauvery. People believe that by doing so, they will wash away their sins and get peace and prosperity.
Many spiritual rituals performed on this day. Along with this festival, Kumbh Mela also takes place every 12 years and is one of the world’s largest mass pilgrimages.
This festival is one of bonding in which every member of society must bury the hatchet and live in peace with friends and enemies. It’s also believed that you are not resurrected but go straight to heaven if you die during Makar Sankranti.
Makar Sankranti in Himachal Pradesh
In Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh, Makara Sankranti is known as Magha Saaji. Saaji is the Pahari word for Sakranti, start of the new month. Hence this day marks the start of the month of Magha.
According to Hindu religious texts, on the day of Uttarayani the sun enters the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricon), i.e., from this day onwards the sun becomes ‘Uttarayan’ or it starts moving to the north.
It is said that from this day, which signals a change of season, the migratory birds start returning to the hills. On Magha Saaja people wake up early in the morning and take ceremonial dips and shower in the springs or baolis. In the daytime people visit their neighbours and together enjoy khichdi with ghee and chaas and give it in charity at temples. Festival culminates with singing and Naati (folk dance).
Makar Sankranti in Punjab
In Punjab, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Maghi. Bathing in a river in the early hours on Maghi is important. Hindus light lamps with sesame oil as this is supposed to give prosperity and drive away all sins. A major mela is held at Sri Muktsar Sahib on Maghi which commemorates a historical event in Sikh history.
Culturally, people dance their famous “bhangra”. They then sit down and eat the sumptuous food that is specially prepared for the occasion. It is traditional to eat “kheer”, rice cooked in milk and sugarcane juice.
It is also traditional to consume khichdi and jaggery. December and January are the coldest months of the year in the Punjab. Maghi represents the change of the season to warmer temperatures and increase in daylight.