India is a country that has festivals galore. Due to the vast diversity of people residing in India, almost every month of the year has a festival that's celebrated in huge numbers. As we are all set to enter the New Year, January brings in another set of auspicious festivities. Let us take a closer look at Makar Sankranti, which is called the harvest festival of India! Although it is majorly called Makar Sankranti, there are several other names for this auspicious festival. The festival is known as Lohri in Punjab, people in Tamil Nadu call it Pongal, in Gujrat, it is called Uttarayan, Poush Parbon in West Bengal, and Bihu in Assam. While Makar Sankranti is a common festival, it is celebrated in different ways throughout the country. Primarily a harvest festival, it is also a solar event.
When is Makar Sankranthi?
Makar Sankranti 2020 is supposed to fall on the 15th of January but it may also fall on the 14th of January. As it is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country, you can choose to enjoy this festival and soak in all the culture from wherever you want! Before you begin the planning process on how to spend your Makar Sankranti 2020, let us talk about the several religious connotations that this auspicious festival holds. "Makar" means Capricorn and "Sankranti" means transition. Thus, the Makar Sankranti is a festival that marks the transition of the Sun into Capricorn or Makar. This transition happens every month with different zodiac signs, which is known as Sankranti. The day of Makar Sankranti is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India.
Where can you go to enjoy the festivities?
- Maharashtra: In Maharashtra, this festival usually lasts for three days. During this time, people tend to celebrate it by exchanging gifts, sweets like Puran Poli, halwa and laddoo. An important tradition during Sankranti is to wear black. Most women in Maharashtra wear black as it is considered to instil body heat and keep them warm during the coldest day of the month. Married women also invite friends and family members to celebrate a tradition called the Haldi-Kundu! Kite-flying contests are very popular as the sky is filled with colourful kites during this festival.
- Punjab: So where can you go for Makar Sankranti 2020? If you choose to go to Punjab, you will witness the great fire burning of Lohri and see people dance in their traditional dance form called "Bhangra." Anyone who wants to witness the real side of Punjab should do so during the time of Lohri. Children dress up in traditional clothes and sing in exchange for some small amount of money with which they buy small sweets made of til or halwa. When the sun starts setting, huge bonfires are lit and people gather around singing and dancing around the fire. It surely is one of the most colourful festivals in Punjab. You can eat your heart out during Sankranti in Punjab. Don't forget to try their speciality Sarson da Saag and Makai di Roti!
- West Bengal: Another place to visit during Makar Sankranti 2020 is definitely West Bengal! Known as the "Poush Parbon" regionally, the Sankranti festivities in this part of the country are a bit different. Several people make their journey to the River Ganges or Bay of Bengal to take a holy dip during this auspicious time. Several places see the start of Ganga Sagar Mela, which has become an enormous tourist attraction over the years. During this time, every household makes sweets from the freshly harvested paddy, the date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur and Patali. So, if you are in any part of Bengal during this time, don't forget to try out all the sweets of the season!
- Rajasthan: In Rajasthan, Makar Sankranti celebrations are quite similar to that of Punjab. Families get together to make all sorts of delicacies and sing and dance to their folk songs. Women of Rajasthan, who are married, offer 13 other married women several gifts as a form of their tradition. Apart from this, kite flying is something to indulge in if you're in Rajasthan during Sankranti!
- Assam: If you are considering to travel anywhere during Makar Sankranti 2020, Assam should definitely be on the top of your list! The festival is all about bonfires and loads and loads of food. Regionally, it is called Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu. It marks the end of the harvest season and the celebrations last up to a week! A very important tradition during this festival is to build makeshift huts, known as Beji, and then burn them the next morning. People build these huts out of bamboo, leaves and thatch and then eat the feast food in there. During this time, people make cakes of rice such as Shunga Pitha, Til Pitha and other sweets made from coconut.
- Tamil Nadu: In Tamil Nadu, the festivities go on for four days and each day there is one tradition that the people follow. On the first day, which is called the Bhogi Pandigai, people burn or destroy old clothes to let go of the past and welcome a new future. The second day, which is called Thai Pongal, is the primary day of this celebration and rice is boiled and offered to God. On the third day, cattle are decorated and worshipped. On the last day, Kaanum Pongal, people wear new clothes and exchange several gifts!
So, for this Happy Makar Sankranti, where are you planning to travel? Be it any city in India, redBus is sure to make your commute easier with great deals and discounts to any destination in India. So, what are you waiting for? Go to the official redBus website or download their app to book your festive journey. There are several exclusive discounts and offers that can be availed on the site. Visit now to know more! Happy Makar Sankranti to one and all.