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In India the harvest festivals are celebrated with a lot of joy and aplomb.
Makar Sankranti is a festival celebrated to welcome the onset of the harvest. One of the many reasons for the celebration of Sankranti is that Goddess Sankranti killed Sankarasur.
This festival is known by different names in different states of India. It’s called Makar Sankranti in most parts of India and Nepal. In Gujarat it’s Uttrayan, in Tamil Nadu it’s Pongal, in Assam it’s Bhogali Bihu and it’s Lohri in Punjab. The beauty of this festival lies in the reason for its celebration which is to celebrate the new harvest. This festival symbolises the colours of India. The fact that unity is reflected in diversity is seen in this festival.
We celebrate Makar Sankranti by paying our respect to our elders. On this day we worship the Surya Bhagvan (Sun God) and many people take a dip in holy rivers like Ganga, Kaveri, Yamuna, Beas and many more rivers. It is believed that taking a dip in holy rivers, washes away all the past sins.
On this day, we distribute warm clothes, blankets and food to the poor and needy. This is one of the main reasons why I love this festival.
After all the distribution, prayers are offered and then we sit down to a heavy meal of traditional sweets and savouries. Our meal usually consists of Til Papri (made of sesame seeds and jaggery), chidwa (flattened rice), delicacies made of milk, jaggery and dry fruits. The food consumed during this time also holds a lot of significance. Sesame seeds and jaggery provides the body with heat and vitamins which is required for the hard work of harvesting which lies ahead.
In the afternoon my family and I fly kites. When all the kites are flown in the sky, it looks very beautiful. This is the best part of the day. Harvest festivals celebrate the contribution made by our farmers who toil hard to bring food to our homes.