Pongal or Makara Sankranti or Maghi is one of the major festivals in India falling on January 14 and 15th this year and the festival is also celebrated in Nepal, a Hindu country.
While Prime Minster Narendra Modi sent his greetings to all Hindus on the occasion, several temples are thronged by people to get a glimpse of God or Goddess to mark the first Hindu festival in Gregorian calendar.
On Thursday, January 15, Hindu devotees take a dip in the holy river Ganga and the occasion of first harvest reaching home is cheered with rangoli in front of the houses and streets.
The festival also coincides with the astronomical calculation when the Sun passes through the house of Sagittarius to the house of Capricorn. Being the first festival in any current New Year, the festival is also known for exchaning gifts, sweets and greetings.
Interestingly, the festival falls on the same day every year in the Gregorian calendar too. Though most Hindu festivals follow the Lunar calendar, this is the only festival which falls on the same day even in the Gregorian calendar. For the last one century, the festival fell on January 14 but this year it moved into January 15 too and from 2050, it is estimated to fall on every January 15.
On Makar Sankranti, the sun moves from Sagittarius sign to Capricorn or Makara rashi. It is also one of the oldest solstice festivals and falls on the equinox, day and night on this day being equal. It signifies the onset of Indian summer and beginning of the spring. During this month, days will be longer and nights will be shorter.
On Makar Sankranti, til-gul or sesame and jaggery laddoos and chikkis are prepared given away to neighbours and friends with a chanting of “Til-gul ghya ani gud gud bola” (eat these sesame seeds and jaggery and speak sweet words).
Legend goes that on this day the Sun God, who was angry with his son Shani, forgets his anger and visits him. Eating sesame and jaggery is also found to be good for health as they drive away winter cold.
The festival’s another major attraction is the kite-flying, especially in the morning coinciding with the sun-rise and exposing the body under sun is good for the skin and body, driving away infections and bateria in the body due to winter.
Makar Sankranti also marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh and the end of the famous pilgrimage to Shabarimala in Kerala.
Here are some greetings on Makara Sankranti Day:
1. May your life be blessed with happiness and love. Happy Makar Sankranti!
2. May this festival bring in the Promise of a good harvest, sweetness of Pongal, Brightness of the sun. Happy Makar Sankranti
3. The sun rises with hope, kites fly with bigour, crops are ready for harvest — marking a new start, hope, joy and abundance. Wishing you a Happy Makar Sankranti.
4. Makar Sankranti denotes great planning and happy beginnings; daring and new destinations; success and sweetness. Wish you a great Pongal!
5. Warm greetings on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti and wishing you the best of life in all days to come. Happy Makar Sankranti!
6. Our thoughts hold the power to build, bend or break our circumstances. Happy Makara Sankranti and Pongal!
7. On this beautiful, bright and delighted day, the sun entered Makar intensifying the ray of hope. Crop harvested to cheer the smiles. Let’s come together and enjoy the life.
8. Happy Makar Sankranti Wishes for you with love. I hope this harvest is the Best in the whole year and you Have lots of grains and earn profits.
9. May the Makar Sankranti fire burn all the moments of sadness and bring you the warmth of joy, happiness and love.
10. A new beginning, a new destination, with happiness or sorrow, with pain or pleasure. Happy Makar Sankranti!