Makar Sankranti just like other Indian festivals is special; especially as winter festivals are celebrated all over India. This is also focusing on farming and agriculture. Among the winter festivals, Makar Sankranti and Pongal are the prominent ones.
Makar Sankranti and Pongal
These festivals are celebrated in various names in several states with the eye-catching customs and traditions followed by the Indians. In the perfect weather, people harvest crops and honor nature, cattle, and the farmers.
It is beautiful to witness the people gathered from several parts of the state to worship, honor and welcome the new season of the year.
To know more about the winter festivals of India, continue to read the article.
Winter Festivals of India: Makar Sankranti, Lohri,Ganga sagar Snan & Pongal
While there are more winter festivals celebrated all over India, I have listed the below famous winter festivals here.
- Makar Sankranti
- Ganga sagar Snan
- Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in several parts of India to mark the start of the new season and is also observed as a religious celebration.
Makar Sankranti 2023 is celebrated as a harvest festival on January 14, from north to south and east to west. Though Sankranti is common in India, it is particularly celebrated in West India, whereas South India celebrates Pongal, and in North, it is celebrated as Lohri.
This festival is celebrated for peace and prosperity among various sectors of people. And they take a holy dip in rivers such as Ganga, Krishna, Cauvery, Yamuna, and Godavari. It is believed that the holy dip will wash away their sins.
The festival also signifies the starting of Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh and the Sabarimala pilgrimage in Kerala. It is also believed that people who depart the world during the Makar Sankranti will directly reach Moksha (heaven).
Lohri is another winter festival that marks the end of the winter season and welcomes the spring season. This festival is linked with the rabi crops harvest.
Lohri is also considered a harvest festival, and the Punjab farmers considered the Lohri as the financial new year.
According to history, a Rajput tribe inhabited the Punjab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat ( in Pakistan), and the tribes distributed the wealth by snatching it from the rich ones. And the people who belong to the tribe remember him as a hero today.
Lohri is a festival of worshiping fire and the sun. Lohri ki thalli is one of the popular Lohri foods served during the festival.
- Ganga Sagar Snan
Ganga Sagar river is an important bathing ritual followed by the Hindus to cleanse their souls. It is one of the famous festivals that gathers a larger crowd annually. Ganga Sagar Snan happens at Sagar Island in West Bengal, and it will be held on January 14, the upcoming year 2023.
Ganga Sagar snan or Ganga Sagar Mela is celebrated by taking a dip in the ocean where the river Gange meets the sea, and it is of the greatest religious significance. It attracts huge crowds from various parts of the country.
People after taking bath in the river Ganga worship the goddess Ganga. There is also a belief that youngsters who take a holy dip will get handsome partners. Also, people visit the Kapil Muni temple that is situated nearby to worship the deity.
Ganga Sagar snan lasts for a week, and the religious ceremonies start on the day before Makar Sankranti and ends after the festival. On Makar Sankranti day, people take a cold bath in the early morning; to wash away their sins.
It is celebrated by the Hindu people of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Odisha. Though it is celebrated in the close proximity regions of the Ganga, people from all over India and the globe visit the place to perform Ganga Sagar snan.
Thai Pongal refers to the Tamil month of the year and Pongal 2023 falls on Jan 14th. Pongal is prominently celebrated in south India, especially in all parts of Tamilnadu. It is also celebrated by the Tamil people all over the world.
Pongal is celebrated by thanking the farmers, sun, and farm animals for their involvement in a successful harvest. It is celebrated by all religions irrespective of the differences, and Pongal has been recorded in Tamil literature.
South Indians celebrate Pongal by building up to the fire and preparing the Chakkara Pongal ( also known as Pongal rice) in the mud pot. Along with sugarcane, fruits are also placed while honoring the sun god.
In Tamilnadu, the festival is celebrated for 4 days. Bhogi Pongal involves the burning of sins, anger so, people used to throw away old things at home.
Thai Pongal refers to the start of the harvest season, and the Mattu Pongal is celebrated by honoring the farm animals in their house and farm. Kaanum Pongal is celebrated on the last day.
Also, interior Tamilnadu celebrates bull festivals such as Jallikattu during the festival season. It attracts crowds globally. Several cash prizes and valuable gifts were given to the people who won the Jallikattu game.
Sankranti is also famous as Pongal, Ganga Sagar Snan in India.
India is a huge country with differences, but people unite together and celebrate each festival irrespective of their differences.
The winter festivals are celebrated under various names, but the intention is the same worshiping and honoring the god and the farmers.
These festivals are important since people travel to their hometowns or village to celebrate the festivals and keep their culture and traditions alive.
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