Significance - Nomenclature and Regional Names of MAKARA SANKRANTHI
Every year Makar Sankranti is celebrated in the month of January. This festival is dedicated to the Hindu religious sun god Surya.
This significance of Surya is traceable to the Vedic texts, particularly the Gayatri Mantra, a sacred hymn of Hinduism found in its scripture named the Rigveda. Makara Sankranti is regarded as important for spiritual practices and accordingly, people take a holy dip in rivers, especially Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri.
The bathing is believed to result in merit or absolution of past sins. They also pray to the sun and thank for their successes and prosperity.
A shared cultural practices found amongst Hindus of various parts of India is making sticky, bound sweets particularly from sesame (til) and a sugar base such as jaggery (gud, gur). This type of sweet is a symbolism for being together in peace and joyfulness, despite the uniqueness and differences between individuals.
For most parts of India, this period is a part of early stages of the Rabi crop and agricultural cycle, where crops have been sown and the hard work in the fields is mostly over.
The time thus signifies a period of socializing and families enjoying each other's company, taking care of the cattle, and celebrating around bonfires, in Maharashtra the festival is celebrated by flying kites.
Makara Sankranti is an important pan-Indian solar festival, known by different names though observed on the same date, sometimes for multiple dates around the Makar Sankranti.
It is known as Pedda Panduga in Andhra Pradesh, Makara Sankranti in Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Magh Bihu in Assam, Magha Mela in parts of central and north India, as Makar Sankranti in the west, Maghara Valaku in Kerala, and by other names.
Makara or Makar Sankranti is celebrated in many parts of the Indian subcontinent with some regional variations. It is known by different names and celebrated with different customs in different Indian states and South Asian countries:
Sankranti, Makara Sankranti, Makara Sankramanam, Pedda Panduga : Andhra Pradesh, Telangana
Pusna : West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya
Suggi Habba, Makara Sankramana, Makara Sankranti : Karnataka
Makar Sankranti, Uttarayan or Ghughuti: Uttarakhand
Makara Sankranti or Makara Mela and Makara Chaula : Odisha
Makara Sankranti or Makaravilakku and Makara Jyothi : Kerala
Makara Sankranti or Dahi Chura or Til Sankrant : Bihar
Makar Sankranti, Maghi Sankrant, Haldi Kumkum or Sankranti : Maharashtra, Jammu,Goa, Nepal
Hangrai : Tripura
Thai Pongal or Uzhavar Thirunal: Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia
Maghi: Haryana, Himachal Pradesh Punjab
Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu: Assam
Shishur Saenkraat: Kashmir Valley
Sakraat or Khichdi: Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar
Poush Sangkranti: West Bengal, Bangladesh
Tila Sakrait: Mithila
In most regions of India, Sankranti festivities last for two to four days of which each day is celebrated with distinct names and rituals.
Day 1 – Maghi (preceded by Lohri), Bhogi Panduga
Day 2 – Makara Sankranti, Pongal, Pedda Panduga, Uttarayana, Magh Bihu
Day 3 – Mattu Pongal, Kanuma Panduga
Day 4 – Kaanum Pongal, Mukkanuma