Makar Sankranti 2024:
Makarsankranti, a festival that signifies the onset of warmer days bidding goodbye to the cold and harsh winter season as well as the new harvest, is being celebrated in the country today. One of the wonderful things about this festival is that it is celebrated in throughout the greater part of the nation and named differently, though the underlining reason remains the same – saying adieu to winter and celebrating the new harvest.
India being a largely agrarian country sees Makarsankranti being celebrated by different names. It is known as Poush Parban or Poush Sankranti in West Bengal, Makarsankranti in the Hindi belt, Makara Chaula or Makara Mela in Odisha, Pongal and Bhogi in South India, Uttarayana in Gujarat, Magh Bihu in Assam, Lohri in Punjab and all filled with charming local activities.
The festival holds considerable importance, particularly for Hindus. Devotees assemble at rivers and large tanks for an early morning dip as cleansing oneself at the auspicious hours is believed to purify one’s soul. People also buy new objects for their households as it is believed to bring prosperity and good fortune all through the year.
Finally, the seasonal delicacies without which Indian festivals cannot be considered complete. Freshly harvested rice, sugarcane, jaggery, maize, sesame seeds and milk are essential ingredients of festive fare.
Gangasagar Mela During Makarsankranti
The Ganga Sagar Mela is an event that is a testament to the vibrant cultural and spiritual tapestry of India. Held annually in Sagardwip, West Bengal, this annual fair has, over the years, earned the distinction of being the second- most popular mela in the country, second only to the Kumbh Mela. The festival draws a huge number of devotees who travel to the island of Sagar from all parts of the country to take part in rituals, seek spiritual purification, and celebrate with fervour with countrymen who have assembled there.
The Mela is a celebration of the myriad rituals, lamp lighting, and spiritual chants that fill the atmosphere in Sagardwip (the island of Sagar) creating a divine aura. Pilgrims from diverse backgrounds, races, socioeconomic classes and nationalities come together to participate in Gangasagar Mela forming a beautiful mosaic of spiritual unity. The culmination of the festival is marked by devotees worshiping Lord Surya, the Sun God, after their purifying dip.
Post the holy dip and bath in the early hours of the morning, pilgrims usually visit the temple of Kapil Muni, a revered sage in Hindu mythology. The temple has considerable spiritual significance to devotees visiting the Mela. Gangasagar Mela is celebrated on Makar Sankranti that usually falls either on the 14th or 15th of January every year. This year, the festival is being celebrated today.