Sankranti- Festival of Kites ( As written by Deeksha Sharma for Kalaneca)

Makar Sankranti or maghi or Sankranti or Pongal or Lohri, whatever name we want to give. It is the festival day of the Hindu calendar dedicated to deity Surya and the newly harvested crop of the season. This festive follows the movement of the Sun and marks the beginning of the transition of the Sun into the zodiac of Capricorn and for this reason, it is the only festival that occurs on the same date (according to English Calendar) every year. The run of the Sun in relation to earth will shift from Dakshinayan (southern run) to Uttarayan (northern run) on this day. This festival is celebrated all across the country with different names for different regions and in different ways.

But being a Rajasthani and child from the heart for me, this festival has always been all about kites and sweets. Enjoying Til ka laddu and Ghevar while shouting for those colorful kites are one of the most colorful memories of our childhood. On this day, people enjoy flying kites from their rooftops or open fields and beautiful, colorful kites in the sky, turns the sky into a beautiful Canvas and paints the world in beautiful colors. These kites are in many different colors, shapes, and sizes. Many kites have social messages, awareness information on exclusive patterns and designs. And nowadays these kites are even used for marketing purposes. Many people take interest in flying excessively large kites with a long colorful tail and different kinds of manjhas to make their kite fly high. Nowadays mostly societies and areas also conduct kite-flying contests to show kite skills and outdo each other. These kite festivals are more common in Rajasthan and Gujarat on the day of Makar Sankranti.

Lohri in Punjab For the people of Punjab and Haryana, this is a much-awaited bonfire festival, Lohari. In the time of peak winters, they celebrate their harvest festival by dancing and enjoying in groups around huge bonfires in front of houses and threw rice puffs and popcorns into the fire. On this day kids go door to door to loved ones and collect Lohari "loot" in form of money and sweets like Til, laddu, Gajak, gud (jaggery), etc.

Bihu/Bhogali in Assam As the name "Bhogali" suggests "Feasting", people of Assam celebrate this festival of good crops with a variety of sweets, prepared using Til, Coconut, Rice. Burning "Mejis (Made of bamboo, hay, and dried leaves)" is an important ritual of Bihu, and after this people sit down and enjoy their traditional feast of the day. Dancing on the notes of flutes, horns, and Bihu songs, they find extreme joy in celebrating their good crops.

Pongal in Tamil-Nadu In Tamil Nadu, the Tamil community celebrates the Pongal festival for 4 days. The very first of the festival is known as "Bhogi Pongal". On this day people purify and decorate their homes with the first cut of Paddy and mango leaves. All the old worthless belongings are discarded in the bonfire and celebrate the New possessions, New crop, and New festivities.

Spiritually ahead and aware people say that at this very point of time the possibility for human consciousness to blossom. History has such numerous examples where people have attained in this phase of Sun that is Uttarayan. The very famous story from history is of Bhishma waiting on his death bed of arrows for many weeks to make his own transition possible while this transition in nature.

This is the period of Grace, receptivity, and enlightenment of attainment of the ultimate.

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                                                                                   By Deeksha Sharma

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