Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India.It is one of the most auspicious days for Hindus all over India and in other countries. It is celebrated with pomp and devotion in almost all the states of India in various forms.
According to the lunar calendar, when the sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Poush in mid-January, it commemorates the beginning of the harvest season and cessation of the northeast monsoon in South India. Makar Sankranti is a festival of the harvest season when the Sun enters the Tropic of Capricorn or ‘Makar’. It usually coincides with 14th or 15th of January every year corresponding to the month of ‘Magh’ according to the Hindu solar calendar.
SIGNIFICANCE OF MAKAR SANKRANTI
The festival of Makar Sankranti is associated with much cultural significance:
- The Purana’s say that on this day Sun visits the house of his son Shani, who is the swami of Makar Rashi. This day symbolizes the healthy relationship offather & son. It is the son who has the responsibility to carry forward his fathers dream and the continuity of the family.
- It was on this day when Lord Vishnu ended the ever increasing terror of the Asuras by finishing them off and burying their heads under the Mandara Parvata (Mountain). So this occasion also represents the end of negative and beginning of an era of righteous living.This festival is also called as Harvest Festival.
MAKAR SANKRANTI IN ODISHA
According to the Puranas, ‘Lord Surya’ got over his anger with his son ‘Shani’, the master of ‘Makar Rashi’, and paid him a visit on this day. It is also believed that ‘Lord Vishnu’ killed all the ‘Asuras’ on this day and buried their heads under the ‘Mandar Parvata’ or mountain. All communities celebrate ‘Makar Sankranti’ by offering fresh fruits to ‘Lord Surya’. ‘Uttarayana Jatra’ and ‘Uttarayan Vandapana’ of ‘Lord Jagannath’ are also celebrated at the ‘Puri Temple’.
This festival is observed largely in Odisha by both Arya and Anarya i.e, by general and Adivasi (Tribal) caste. Since this occasion falls just after the harvesting of the paddy crops is over in Odisha. Particularly, the festival is observed largely among all with joy and ceremony.In Jagannath temple at puri this festival is observed as Uttarayana Yatra and Uttarayan Vandapana of Lord Jagannath. People offer a special kind of newly harvested rice and sugarcane mixed with jaggery, grated coconut, banana, molasses, chenna (cheese), Khua, various fruits, dry fruits and milk called “Makara Chaula” to the presiding deity, the Sun God & lit solemn pyre for satisfying the evil elements plaguing household. This day is also observed in Jagannath temple, Puri with two popular Veshas (costumes) of Lord Jagannath i.e. Nabanka Vesha (one day before Makar Sankranti) and Makara Chaurashi Vesha (on the day of Makar Sankranti).In the districts of Mayurbhanj,Keonjhar and Sundargarh where the tribal population is more than forty per cent, the festival is celebrated with great joy and merriment.Moreover, the time of the festival is best suited for them as all agricultural operations are over by that time and each family possess something after the harvest. Liquor is freely consumed by men and women. They sing and dance and enjoy life for about a week. Young girls of certain communities mostly Kudumi, Bastiti, Rajual etc. worship ‘Tushu’, a female deity and immerse it in the river or tank singing songs of a special variety.
While in the cities like Cuttack , Bhubaneswar celebrates the festivals by flying kites . In some places Kite competition is held among peoples of different sahi’s (Colonies).People start purchasing kites much before the festive and keep everything ready for the eve.This year kites featuring ollywood film posters and Kites with actors and actress images are a huge hit with the fans.The price of kites ranges from Re.1 – Re.3o and more .