Prez greets nation on eve of Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal

The importance of Makar Sankranti and why is it celebrated?

Makar Sankranthi 2018 Significance : History and Reason to Celebrate holy festival

The festival is celebrated on 14th January and is possibly the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day each year with just a few exceptions.

While most Hindu festivals are observed in accordance with the lunar cycle, Makar Sankranti is a festival that celebrates the solar cycle. The slow and subtle beats of this song surely make your mood to celebrate the festival with joy. The festival is celebrated on three days with different traditions being involved for the three days.

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The festival signifies the return of longer days and shorter nights. Bonfire and folk songs are a major part of the celebration and a puja parikrama (prayers) around the bonfire is performed followed by the distribution of prasad. In Tamil Nadu, the festive occasion is celebrated as Pongal, whereas in Punjab it is known as Lohri while some call it as Uttarayan.

Makar Sankranti is regarded as important for spiritual practices and accordingly, people take a holy dip in rivers, especially Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri. Celebrated with different names all over the country, the festivals of Makar Sankranti and Pongal symbolize the happiness that comes with good harvest and is a celebration of a positive transformation in people's lives. The bathing is believed to result in merit or absolution of past sins. The festival is considered sacred as farmers grow their Rabi crops.

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The day is thus marked with people socialising with each other and enjoying each other's company. The festival marks the onset of summer and an auspicious six months period for Hindus known as Uttaarayan.

The first day when the sun transit into the Makara or Capricorn marks the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Thirdly, this is celebration time which is extremely auspicious as per the Hindu calendar.

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