Makar Sakranti was special this time. My parents were visiting us from Himachal. Usually we celebrate Lohri in Delhi with some friends and there is hardly any celebrations on Makar Sakranti. At our native place in Himachal, Makar Sakranti is celebrated by cooking Khichdi and kite-flying. In some parts of Himachal region Makara Sankranti is known as Magha Saaja. Saaja is Pahari word for Sakranti, which is beginning of the new month. Basically this day indicates the start of the month of 'Magha' as per Indian calendar.
This time, my dad made Urad dal Khichdi at home for us. The Khichdi photographs shared here are shot by Sangeeta Khanna, an acclaimed India Food Blogger. Click on individual photographs to know more about these different types of Khichdi's on her blog - http://www.healthfooddesivideshi.com/ . The very first photograph in this Photo Journey is showing pongal Khichdi. Ponga is celebrated on same day in southern part of India.
The word Makar is picked from Hindu calendar. On Uttarayan day, the sun enters the Zodiacal sign of Makara (Capricon). Which effectively means that from this particular day onwards the sun becomes 'Uttarayan', means that sun starts moving to the north.
Various other events are marked on Makar Sakranti. Backward movement of migratory birds to their native lands, change in weather (ideally consequent days should be warmer). In the daytime people visit their neighbours and together enjoy Khichdi with curd, ghee, papad etc. In my native state Himachal, various fairs take place on this special day, charities are done in form of medical camps, food and some cultural programs are organized with Naati being the main event of the day.
Kite flying is another main way of celebrating Makar Sakranti or Uttrayan. In fact, various kite flying events, fairs and festivals are organized by different administrative bodies in the country. In Delhi, lot of colorful kites can be seen in the sky above Chandani Chowk, Chwari Bazar and other areas of Old Delhi. Over years, the charm for kite flying is dying but still these festivals ensure that kids go out in markets to buy kites and have fun with friends.
Makara Sankranti is also considered as one of the major harvest festival which i celebrated in different parts of India. This time the festival was very special for us, as parents make us realize that the day has various importance in Hindu calendar. Hope to explore more about such festivals more and share with you all time to time.