Makar Sankranti being celebrated with gaiety, fervour

January 14th, 2008 - 11:18 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil
New Delhi, Jan 14 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh have extended their greetings to fellow citizens on the occasion of Makara Sankranti and Pongal, the two festivals being celebrated with much gaiety and fervour.

In her message, President Patil said: “On the occasion of Makara Sankranti and Pongal, I extend my greetings and felicitations to all my fellow citizens and wish them happiness and prosperity.”

“Makara Sankranti and Pongal are days of great festivity and rejoicing. May these festivals bind each one of us in fraternal love and affection and inspire us to work for the unity, progress and well being of our nation,” she added.

Dr. Singh in his greeting, said: “The festivals are a strong symbol of our shared ethos and culture. These harvest festivals, celebrated across the country, bring the promise of growth and prosperity. May this year’s Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal bring good luck and happiness in all our lives.”

The festival of Makar Sankranti is marked by kite-flying. The skies are dotted with innumerable colourful kites of various shapes and sizes to celebrate the festival.

In Uttar Pradesh, Sankrant is called ‘Khichiri’. A large number of people takes a dip in the holy rivers and pray to God Sun.

‘Til’ has a special significance on this day. ‘Tilkut’, ‘Tilba’ and other forms of ‘Til’ are also taken with ‘Chura’ and also with ‘Khichiri’.

It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of the country as ‘Pongal’. It is very popular particularly amongst farmers. Rice and pulses cooked together in ghee and milk is offered to the family deity after the ritual worship.

In Punjab, huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankranti, which is celebrated as ‘Lohri’. Sweets, sugarcane and rice are offered to the bonfires, around which friends and relatives gather together.

The following day, which is Sankranti, is celebrated as ‘Maghi’. Then they sit down and eat the sumptuous food that is specially prepared for the occasion.

Makar Sankranti marks the end of a long winter with the return of the Sun to the Northern Hemisphere and hence the name Uttarayan. (ANI)

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