Trivia Thursday: Indian Festivals On Makar Sankranti

Trivia Thursday: Indian Festivals On Makar Sankranti

Happy Makar Sankranti everyone! In this week’s Trivia Thursday let us take a look at different types of festivals celebrated around India on the day of Makar Sankranti.

Crux of the Matter

In this week’s Trivia Thursday, let us have a look at the festivals celebrated around India on 14th January.

Makar Sankranti
It is a festival in the Hindu calendar dedicated to the deity Surya (Sun). It marks the first day of the sun’s transit into Makara rashi (Capricorn).

Because the festival follows the solar cycle, unlike other festivals in Hindu culture which follow the lunar cycle, Makar Sankranti almost always falls on the same Gregorian date every year (January 14/15), except in some years when the date shifts by a day
for that year.

Uttarayan

  • The term Uttarayan is derived from two different Sanskrit words: “uttara” (North) + “ayana” (movement).
  • Thus it indicates a semantic of the northward movement of the Earth.
  • Uttarayana is referred to as the day of a new good healthy wealthy beginning.
  • In Mahabharata, according to Kauravas and Pandavas, on this day Bheeshma Pitamaha, chose to leave for his heavenly abode.
  • Kite flying during Uttarayana has been a regional event in Gujarat for several years.
  •  In 2012, the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat mentioned that the International Kite Festival in Gujarat was attempting to enter the Guinness World Records due to the participation of 42 countries in it that year.

Pongal

  • Pongal is a multi-day Hindu harvest festival of South India, particularly in the Tamil community. 
  • The festival is named after the ceremonial “Pongal”, which means “to boil, overflow” and refers to the traditional dish prepared from the new harvest of rice boiled in milk with jaggery.
  • The three days of the Pongal festival are called: Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Maattu Pongal.
  • Some Tamils celebrate a fourth day of Pongal as Kanum Pongal.

Lohri

  • Lohri is a popular Punjabi winter folk festival celebrated primarily in the Punjab region.
  • Lohri marks the end of winter and is a traditional welcome of longer days and the sun’s journey to the northern hemisphere
  • According to folklore, in ancient times Lohri was celebrated at the end of the traditional month when winter solstice occurs.
  • It celebrates the days getting longer as the sun proceeds on its northward journey.
  • The day after Lohri is celebrated as Maghi Sangrand.
  • Lohri songs mention the Indian Sun god asking for heat and thanking him for his return. Other legends explain the celebration as a folk reverence for fire (Agni) or the goddess of Lohri.
  • Some people believe that Lohri has derived its name from Loi, the wife of Saint Kabir. Another legend amongst some people is that Lohri comes from the word ‘loh‘, which means the light and the warmth of fire. Lohri is also called lohi in rural Punjab.

Take a look at our last week’s Trivia Thursday here: Extraterrestrial Life

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