Makar Sankranti

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan, the kite flying festival in India.

Makar Sankranti is one of the famous festivals that our Indian system cherishes with great entertainment.It represents end of winter.

Makar Sankranti is a Mid Winter Hindu festival that is celebrated across all over India. Makar Sankranti is considered to be the harvest festival of India and Maha Kumbha Mela in Prayag, Sankrat in Rajasthan, Uttarayan in Gujarat, Magh Bihu (or Bhogali Bihu) in Assam, it’s called ‘Khichiri’ in Uttar Pradesh,  Madhya Pradesh the festival is known as ‘Sakarat’.

One interesting fact about Makar Sankranti is that it is one of the few Hindu festivals that observed according to the solar cycle. Otherwise, most of the Hindu festivals are observed according to the lunar cycle. Since it is observed according to the solar cycle, it is celebrated, mostly on the same day in the Gregorian calendar, every year i.e. 14th January. This festival is the one of the few chosen Indian Hindu festivals which has a fixed date. According to the Hindu calendar, Makar Sankranti falls in the solar month Makara and lunar month Magha, which corresponds to Jan-Feb in the Gregorian calendar.

On Makar Sankranti people worship the Sun God and take a holy dip at Sangam, which is the confluence of the rivers Yamuna, Saraswati and Ganga in Allahabad as it is considered to cleanse ones sins.

Sweets, particularly from sesame (til) and a sugar base such as jaggery (gud, gur), are prepared, which are my favourite!! It is believed that sesame seeds have the ability to absorb and emit high amounts of Sattva (goodness or purity) frequencies.

On this day people gather on the rooftop and enjoy flying colourful kites with some bollywood music playing around. Kite flying is a family event. Entire families gather together on the terraces, roofs or any other part of their house exposed to the sky. One of the most important part of kite is its Manjha. Manjha is the thread tied to the kites. It is made by specific communities. Each colour stands for a specific community. It is not just a regular thread. Manjha is coated with powdered glass, making it extremely sharp.

Those not busy flying are busy in preparing the kites. Getting the tension on its skeleton right, is the key to the strength of the kite. The positioning of the holes to insert the manjha will decide the flight angle.

In Gujarat, a special winter vegetable called undhiyo is the specialty of the day. It’s a preparation of several beans, roots and other local seasonal vegetables. Than there are Jalebee also to eat on this day.Jalebee are desserts meant for the hard core sugar lover!
Late in the evening, as the sun sets, the night festivities begin. People release paper lamps from their terraces. The sky is filled with floating lights.

The Khadia area in old Ahmedabad can easily be labelled the capital of Makar Sankranti kite flying. It was from the tallest terrace in this Khadia area that i saw the entire city engaged in the same sport, the sky covered in tiny colourful specs of kites.

In its complex maze of tiny lanes was where i experienced the magic!

Overall a fun loving festival for all age groups!! A day when the sky looks colourful and at night beautiful with paper lamps. I wait every year for this amazing festival where we all as a family gather and have fun together as a team i love kite flying and enjoy some delicious food on this special day!

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