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The Exuberance of Makar Sankranti

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With the onset of the New Year comes the inviting festival of Makar Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is an auspicious festival that marks the end of the winter solstice and the start of spring and longer days. The festival bids adieu to the chilly nights and welcomes the warmer days.

This propitious Sankranti marks the sun’s transit into Makara (Capricorn), the onset of the Northward movement of the sun and is dedicated to the deity Surya (sun). It is one of the few festivals that has been observed according to solar cycles and falls on the same date every year: the 14th of January with some exceptions like this year. In rare years the day of Sankranti is deferred by one day to compensate for the distinction that happens due to the revolution around the sun.

Apart from the religious importance, Makar Sankrant also marks the beginning of the new harvest season. The celebrations take various forms and names across the length and breadth of the country.  From Lohri in Punjab to Pongal in Tamil Nadu and from Makar Sankrant in Maharashtra and to Maghu Bihu in Assam and Uttarayan, Makar Sankranti’s festivities spread peace and prosperity throughout.

The day begins with devotees taking a holy dip, seeking blessings and making donations in some communities. Social festivities like bonfires, cultural dance forms, fairs and feasts mark the day’s customs.

The enthusiastic celebrations of Makar Sankranti in Rajasthan touches the sky, literally! Kite buying is a serious affair, where immense understanding is applied to buy the perfectly sized kite which will soar high in the skies. Vividly shaped kites in all shapes and sizes dot the sky as one competes with the other in cutting the thread off their kites.

As the sun drops and the hues dim, the sky is lit up with thousands of lanterns that make for a breathtaking view. The evenings are full of life and the days are spent enjoying delectable delicacies like gajak and feeni.

Though celebrations differ throughout the country, the core sentiments remain unanimous; to welcome the new season of warmth. Marwar wishes you a very happy Makar Sankranti.

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