Makar Sankranti 2019: All you need to know about the festival
Kites are flown from morning to sunset so that people get enough exposure to sun rays.
The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great zeal and fervour all over the country and this year India is gearing up to spread the cheer. The festival celebrates the sun's shift from Sagittarius into Capricorn. At the same time, sun transits towards the North.
From this day, the cold, short and winter days change to warmer, longer summer days.
The agricultural community rejoices at the prospect of warm days and longer spell of sunlight. The farmers then begin to harvest their rabi crops. It is said that on this day, the rays of the sun are gentle and beneficial for the body. Kites are flown from morning to sunset so that people get enough exposure to sun rays.
People believe that by basking in the sun, they can get rid of harmful bacteria. The festival also marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh while in South India, in Kerala, the difficult pilgrimage of Sabarimala ends on this auspicious day. This year, Makar Sankranti will start from January 14 and last till January 16.
An interesting ritual behind the festival is the women celebrating haldi-kumkum on this day. Married women apply haldi (turmeric) and kumkum (vermillion) on each other and pray for the prosperity of their husbands. A small token or gift is presented to the guests and is known as the 'vaan'. Betel nut leaf, tilgul and a flower are an important part of this gift. As far as food is concerned, sweets made of sesame and jaggery and 'til ke laddu' is a classic dish on Makar Sakranti. Puran Poli is also prepared by Maharashtrians on this day.
Another Sankranti staple across Delhi and Haryana is gajak, revdi, peanuts, and popcorns. Feeni which is a famous Jaipur sweet made of fibres is a relished sweet. It's time to go Kai Po Che!
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Colourful kites hit markets ahead of Makar Sankranti festival