January 13, 2023
CM Content Team
Once the New Year celebrations are over, you are getting back to your daily routine. A new year has begun, and the first festival is Makar Sankranti in India.
Typically, Makar Sankranti is celebrated on January 14 or 15. This year, Makar Sankranti 2024 falls on January 15th. The day marks the first day of the sun's transition into the Makara (Capricorn), signalling the end of winter solstice and the start of longer days. The festival, dedicated to the Sun God, is special in more than one way because it also signals the harvest season.
Since the festival is celebrated in different regions on the same day, it also epitomises India’s ‘Unity in Diversity.’ On this day, you can see the different customs and traditions of India as people celebrate the festival in their own way.
A popular harvest festival, Makar Sankranti is celebrated across India with great pomp and pride, and it is known by different names in different states.
Many people around the nation eagerly look forward to this festival, as Makar Sankranti is an important Indian festival.
Here are some of the states that celebrate Makar Sankranti festival in India.
So, if you are intrigued about this beautiful festival, let us look at the celebrations of Makar Sankranti in different parts of India.
In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as ‘Uttarayan’ and it is one of the most-awaited festivals of the year. Obviously, like other Indian festivals, Uttarayan in Gujarat is celebrated on a grand scale.
Compared to the celebrations of Makar Sankranti across India, the festival is celebrated for two days in Gujarat.
The first day is Uttarayan and the second is known as Vale Uttarayan. On the first day, people celebrate the festival by flying kites, and you see colourful kites of all shapes, and forms, also the chants of ‘Kai Po Che’ and ‘E lapet’ reverberate throughout the state.
After participating in an intense Kite flying competition with the friends and family members, the locals enjoy a delicious lunch, and munch the day’s especially, Undhiyu and Chikki. Both the dishes are cooked in almost every Gujarati household to mark the occasion.
If you are planning to visit Gujarat during Makar Sankranti, you can book your stay at Club Mahindra Kensville Golf Resort, one of the most premium resorts in Ahmedabad offered by Club Mahindra and take part in the grand celebrations.
During the festival, you can participate in various special activities at the resort that are not only fun and entertaining but also give you an insight into the rich local culture and traditions.
Like many states that celebrate Makar Sankranti in India, in Punjab, it is associated with the harvest of winter crops. The festival is known as Lohri and it is one of the most celebrated events in the state, especially among the farmers communities who rely on farming for livelihood.
On the night of the Lohri, farmers light a bonfire and perform various rituals to thank the fire God and then perform the traditional Punjabi dance known as Bhangra. Another important part of the Lohri celebration is eating the delicious traditional dish – Kheer, which is made of rice and milk.
Makar Sankranti celebration in Tamil Nadu, India, is known as Pongal. Tamilians celebrate the festival in a grand manner for four days, and each day has different religious significance.
The Pongal celebrations start on the night before the actual festival day. On the eve of Pongal, the locals light a bonfire, and burn the old and unused items in the household. This ritual is called Bhogi, and it symbolises replacing the old with new.
Day two is the most important day, where people cook Pongal, a sweet dish made of rice, sugar, ghee and jaggery. The rice used is freshly harvested rice. While cooking the dish, people let the dish come to a boil and spill over the open fire. It is considered a good omen, symbolising a good harvest for the season.
The third day is dedicated to the cattle and people organise ‘Jallikattu’ festival, where the men try to tame a wild bull. It is a grand event that takes place throughout the state, making Tamil Nadu one of the best places to celebrate Makar Sankranti in India.
The last day is usually spent with family and friends, and people have relatives coming over and they prepare a feast for them.
If you are planning to visit Tamil Nadu to see Makar Sankranti or Pongal celebration, you can head to Ooty, and stay at the Club Mahindra Danish Villa or Club Mahindra Derby Green, the best resorts in Ooty offered by Club Mahindra. During your stay at these resorts, you can enjoy feasting on the special Pongal menu that includes the sweet dish Pongal and many other local delicacies, while chanting ‘Pongal o Pongal’ along with other guests.
As we move to the far east of India to Assam, Makar Sankranti celebrations here have a different charm. Here people enjoy having a Makar Sankranti feast for up to one week, and the festival in this part of India is known as Magh Bihu. As part of the celebration, communities host and play several games, the most popular being ‘tekeli-bhonga’ that translates to pot breaking and buffalo fighting.
The locals make rice cakes and laru, a sweet dish made from coconut. The locals invite their friends and relatives home and host a fest in Meji, a makeshift hut that is erected a day before the feast. After the feast is over, they burn down the hut; it is also considered an integral part of the celebration and local tradition.
If you want to experience a unique Makar Sankranti celebration in India, Assam is a great place to visit.
Just like Makar Sankranti across India, the festival is celebrated with a lot of joy in Bihar and Jharkhand. The festival is marked by traditional customs and culinary delights. The day kicks off with locals taking a holy dip in the Ganges, signifying a spiritual start to the festivities.
As the sun rises, households come alive with the preparation of special dishes. The morning begins with a delightful breakfast of chuda-dahi, a mix of beaten rice and yoghurt, accompanied by a portion of gur (jaggery) for sweetness. The sweet aroma of tilkut, a special dish made from jaggery and sesame seeds, fills the air. Tilkut holds cultural significance and is shared among families, fostering a sense of togetherness.
The evening feast features khichdi, a wholesome dish made from rice and lentils, served with the 'chaar yaar' or 'four companions' – chokha (roasted potatoes), ghee, papad, and achaar (pickle). This dinner table spread represents the essence of Bihari cuisine and adds a savoury touch to the celebrations.
Beyond the culinary delights, the day is marked by colourful kites filling the sky. Kite-flying competitions bring people of all ages together, adding an air of excitement to the festivities. Community fairs and melas further contribute to the festive spirit, showcasing the rich cultural heritage through traditional music, dance, and local crafts.
Makar Sankranti in West Bengal, India, is called Poush Sankranti. It marks the end of winter and the start of longer days. The festivities bring communities together with unique customs and joyful traditions.
One standout feature is the making and sharing of traditional sweets known as "Pithe" and "Puli." Families create these tasty rice-based treats filled with jaggery, coconut, and sesame seeds, adding a sweet touch to the celebrations.
The Ganga Sagar Mela is an important part of the festival. People from different places gather at Sagar Island to take a holy dip where the Ganges River meets the Bay of Bengal, believing it brings good fortune and spiritual blessings.
Kite flying is another exciting activity during Poush Sankranti. Colourful kites decorate the sky as people of all ages engage in friendly competitions, showcasing their skills and enjoying this age-old tradition.
In some areas, bonfires are lit to symbolize the victory of light over darkness. Cultural performances, like traditional music and dance, add liveliness to the celebrations. Devotees offer prayers to the Sun God, hoping for prosperity and good health, and visit temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.
It is one of the exceptional Makar Sankranti celebration in India. There are local fairs and markets buzz, artisans display their crafts, and traditional Bengali clothing becomes a highlight.
Makar Sankranti in Karnataka, like across India, is a special time filled with unique traditions and joy. The celebration is closely connected with the local harvest festival called Suggi, where people express thanks for a good harvest.
One standout tradition is 'Ellu Birodu,' a ritual where families exchange a special mixture called "Ellu Bella." This mix, made of white sesame seeds, fried groundnuts, dry coconut, and jaggery, represents the different flavours of life. Sharing Ellu Bella is more than just a tasty exchange – it's a way for people to wish each other happiness and prosperity.
The 'Ellu Birodu' tradition is a community affair, bringing families together in a spirit of unity and joy. It highlights the importance of togetherness during Makar Sankranti.
In addition to Ellu Birodu, Karnataka's celebrations include vibrant kite-flying activities like many other states that celebrate Makar Sankranti in India. Colourful kites fill the skies, and families gather to enjoy friendly competitions, adding excitement to the festivities.
Pongal, a traditional dish made with freshly harvested rice, is also part of the celebrations. Shared among family members, it symbolizes abundance and prosperity, adding a delicious touch to the festival.
Makar Sankranti, celebrated in Himachal Pradesh, is marked by unique traditions and vibrant festivities. One prominent aspect is the enthusiasm for kite flying, adding a colourful and joyous atmosphere to the occasion.
The people of Himachal Pradesh engage in friendly kite competitions, showcasing their skills like people in other states who celebrate the Makar Sankranti festival in India. The skies are adorned with a multitude of kites, creating a spectacular scene that reflects the community's participation in the festivities.
Another significant element of the Makar Sankranti celebration in Himachal Pradesh is the grand fair held at the Brajeshwari temple. This fair spans seven days, during which special puja ceremonies are conducted to honour the deity. The atmosphere is charged with devotion as people gather to participate in the rituals and seek blessings. Additionally, the fair features the creation of elaborate flower decorations, adding to the festive charm.
If you are visiting Himachal Pradesh for the festivities, you can stay at one of the Club Mahindra resorts.
Makar Sankranti celebration in India may differ a bit in states across the nation. Even the name of the festival is different.
However, the fact that the entire nation celebrates this festival together is what truly unites the communities and brings people together.
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.