Makar Sankranthi, the harvest festival, is celebrated today all across India. The festival is known by different names in different parts of India (the most popular name being Sankranthi). In Tamil Nadu the festival is known as Pongal, in Gujarat it is known as Uttarayan, in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana it is known as Maghi, in Assam it is known as Bhogali Bihu, in Kashmir valley it is known as Shishur Saenkraat, in western Bihar it is known as Khichdi and in Karnataka it is known as Makara Sankramana.
In South India, Makar Sankranthi marks the end of the northeast monsoon and the commencement of the harvest season. In Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the festival is celebrated for a period of 4 days.People wake up early in the morning and thoroughly clean their houses.
In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu women decorate the front yard of their houses with rangoli (also known as kollam or muggulu) and farmers conduct a special puja before cutting paddy in their fields. In the Telugu speaking states, the four days are: Bhogi, Makara Sankranthi, Kanuma and Mukkanuma.
In Tamil Nadu the four days are: Bhogi Pandigai, Thai Pongal, Maattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal.
Apart from India, the festival is also celebrated in Nepal and in Sri Lanka (where it is known by the names Uzhavar Thirunal and Pongal). Astrologically, the festival marks the entry of sun in the Capricon (Makara) zodiac. The Kumbh Melas also fall on the Makar Sankranthi day.
This festival is celebrated with a lot of pomp and gaiety. People (irrespective of age group) fly kites of different designs and shapes and try to cut the strings of other kites. Young girls and women decorate front yards of their houses with colorful rangolis. Women prepare a number of delicacies such as Pongal (sweet made of rice) and other snacks and share the same with friends and relatives.
OnlineTemple wishes you all a very happy Makar Sankranthi.