If you are a kite enthusiast and love flying kites, then the festival of Makar Sankranti (Basant Panchami) is the day you would die for!
Makar Sankranti and kite flying have become indivisible so much so that the festival can’t be imagined without the beautiful kites of different colors, shapes, and sizes.
Apart from kite flying, there are other aspects of the festival of Makar Sankranti as well. It is a treasure of ancient beliefs and customs that we must now unfold!
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Why Is Makar Sankranti Celebrated And Its Significance
Makar Sankranti is a festival of the Sun. In fact, it is the only Hindu festival that is celebrated according to the Sun’s position. Rest all the festivals follow the moon.
In the simplest terms, the festival of Makar Sankranti celebrates the transit of Sun from downward journey (दक्षिणायन) to upward journey (called उत्तरायण in Hindi).
The Sun is on a downward journey called Dakshinayan (दक्षिणायन) from July to December. This downward journey of Sun changes to the upward journey called Uttarayan (उत्तरायण) from the day of Makar Sankranti.
This is also the reason behind the fixed date celebration of Makar Sankranti 2022– 14th or 15th January.
Post the day of Makar Sankranti, the Sun enters into the Zodiac sign Makar and there is a significant increase in the sunlight with longer days as the Sun transits northwards.
The point to remember here is that we lie in the northern hemisphere!
The significance of the festival lies in the fact that it celebrates the revival of the Sun after long and harsh winter.
On the other note, it is also the harvest season of wheat – the biggest Rabi (winter-sown) crop of Northern India.
According to Hindi mythology, Dakshinayan resembles the darkest period or God’s night, hence is inauspicious.
On the other hand, Uttarayan resembles the days of God with longer sunlight and hence is considered auspicious.
Some also believe that on the day of Makar Sankranti, the sun visits his son Shani (Saturn) who according to Hindu mythology is the God of Makar Rashi.
Makar Sankranti, therefore, is a festival that has both religious and cultural significance.
How Is Makar Sankranti Celebrated? Unraveling Its Secrets
Apart from colorful and beautiful kites, Makar Sankranti is distinguished by the smell of sweets, til laddoos, melting jaggery, and Khichdi!
The festival is all about flying kites in the Sun and devouring the delicacies.
The tradition of kite flying on Makar Sankranti exposes one to Sun rays for a longer duration, which has a therapeutic effect on health and skin.
The festival is celebrated differently in each state across the length and breadth of India.
In the state of Punjab and Haryana, it is celebrated as a festival of love, reviving the bond between brothers and their married sisters.
Brothers visit their married sisters with gifts like clothes, sweets, and others.
In the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, devotees begin their day by taking a dip in the holy River Ganga before enjoying kite flying under the Sun.
The state of Tamil Nadu celebrates Makar Sankranti as Pongal. The festivities long for four days with each day having its own significance.