Makar Sankranthi, Bihu, Pongal or Lohri: India celebrates the festival with many names and vibrant traditions

Makara Sankranti or the transition of the Sun into the Capricorn means longer days and arrival of the harvest seasons in India. This solar event is celebrated across the country with bonfires, feasts, kite flying and many traditional rituals.

The festive season is set to start in India from January 13. A number of festivals varying from State to State will be celebrated in the coming days across the country. India being a diverse country has diverse festivals which celebrate the various cultures and traditions in the country. Here is a look at the festivals that will be celebrated across the country on the coming three days of January 13, January 14 and January 15.

Lohri (January 13)

Lohri, Courtesy: news18.com

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The festival of Lohri is celebrated primarily in the Punjab region. The festival marks the end of winter season. It commemorates the passing of the winter solstice and welcomes warmer and longer days. People celebrate Lohri by dancing around a bonfire to folk songs and preparing dishes like Sarson da saag, Makki di roti, Gajak and other dishes prepared with freshly harvested crops.

Makar Sankranti (January 14)

People bathing in Ganga,
Courtesy: navbharattimes.indiatimes.com

Magh Bihu celebrations in Assam, Image Courtesy: prokerala.com

The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated to mark the transit of Sun into the 10th house of the Indian zodiac called Makara (Capricorn) after which the days become longer. The festival is known by names like Maghi, Magha Mela, Bhogiin Northern India, Pedda Pandaga in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana, Sukarat in Central India, Magh Bihu in Assam and Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. People take dips in holy rivers, fly kites and light bonfire to celebrate Makar Sankranti. The festival is loved by children because of the kite flying activity. Makar Sankranti has its mention in the Hindu epic of Mahabharata and therefore is believed to be a 5000 years old festival. The festival is called Uttarayan in Gujarat and is celebrated by flying kites.

Pongal (January 15-18)

Pongal Festival, Courtesy: hellotravel.com

Pongal is 4-day festival celebrated to mark the harvest season dedicated to Surya, the Sun God. The festival is celebrated by the Tamil and Telugu people. People prepare dishes from the first harvest of rice and offer it to Surya. The first day of Pongal is called Bhogi on which people discard old things and celebrate new possessions. On the second day, Thai Pongal is celebrated followed by Maatu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal celebrated on the third day and the fourth day respectively.


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