15 January, 2023 |

Binding India with faith & togetherness: Happy Harvest Festival

As Agriculture is considered the backbone of the Indian economy, Let's understand how the harvest festival is celebrated across the country. Let's get started.

Introduction

-South India (TS, AP, KA, & KL) Makar Sankranti, also known as Pongal, is a harvest festival celebrated in South India. It is the biggest festival of the year. Makar Sankranti is also a day to remember the dead. It is believed that Goddess Saraswati blesses the crops with fertility and good health. The festival is celebrated with a lot of religious fervour, and people from all walks of life participate in the festivities. Every year Makar Sankranti is celebrated in the month of January.

This festival is dedicated to Surya, the Hindu god of the sun. This meaning of Surya comes from the Gayatri Mantra, a sacred Hindu devotional hymn found in the Vedic texts, especially from the writings called the Rig Veda. Hindus celebrate the festival by gratifying themselves with rich food and drink. It is also marked by exchanging gifts and visiting family and friends.

-Gujarat In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti or Mahasankranthi is celebrated with great fervour. This is when people of all ages come together to celebrate the sun's arrival and worship it. They offer prayers and make offerings to the sun on this day. It is celebrated for two days, with the first day dedicated to kite flying. The event began with slogans such as "Kaipoche". Kite flying competitions are held in communities across the State, where people compete in dazzling kite fights against others. On this occasion, Gujarati homes prepare undhya and chikki, a delicious combination of winter greens, sesame seeds, peanuts and jaggery.

-Punjab Lohri is celebrated a night before the auspicious Makar Sankranti and is a cult event among local farmers. On Lohri night, bonfires are lit in various communities in the state to worship the deity and perform rituals. Locals also perform bhangra by eating a delicious traditional dish called kheer (rice boiled in milk). This holiday also marks the beginning of the harvest season for winter crops. Lohri is celebrated in other parts of northern India as well.

-Bihar and Jharkhand Locals in Bihar and Jharkhand kick off the festival with a dip in the holy river Ganges. The festival features hearty dishes prepared by local families, such as chudadachi (whipped rice and yoghurt) and gur (jaggery), a traditional breakfast. Tilkut is a specially prepared makar Sankranti dish known as sakrat in Bihar and Jharkhand, made from a special combination of palm sugar and sesame seeds.

-Assam Bihu is a harvest festival that is celebrated in the Indian state of Assam. Magh Bihu is a major festival of joy and happiness among the Assamese. This is a Sankranti celebration in Assam where people wear new clothes, decorate their homes, and worship their ancestors.

-Tamil Nadu On the day of Makar Sankranti in Tamil Nadu, people celebrate with various traditional activities, including running through puddles and dunking one another in water. This is a reminder of the myth of how Lord Shiva created the world by gathering water on his palm and throwing it at the three demons, Taraka, Durgama, and Mahishasura. It is believed that Lord Shiva's sweat killed these three demons.

Recipes you can try out this Sankranti -Masala Dosa This is a popular South Indian breakfast dish that is made with a fermented batter of rice and lentils. The lentils provide a hearty texture, and the masala spices give it a delicious flavour.

-Makar Sankranti Uttapam This is a savoury dish made with corn flour dumplings. Traditionally, these dumplings are filled with peas, onions, and spices. They are then simmered in a savoury broth.

-Khichdi This simple and hearty dish is made from rice, lentils, and spices. It can be served with toppings, such as curd, chutney, or sautéed onions.

How to celebrate Sankranti sustainably? As it is said that one's happiness is another one's suffering, the skies are lit up with the Kites, and many birds get injured and die due to suffocation because of the harmful threads called "Manja" used by the people. The strings are made dangerously sharp. The sharp Manja also injures our hands while flying kites. Some precautions can make the environment good and save the birds, making our environment beautiful and sustainable. Fly kites in open grounds, and use uncoated cotton threads. And one more thing we do for our environment is to use kites made of cloth, cotton and metal paper and ditch synthetic materials. In this way, we save our environment and also enjoy the festival.

How can you make it memorable? -Make a wish to everyone for a happy and prosperous year ahead. -Celebrate the end of the harvest season with a feast of rice, dal, and curries. -Light a lamp or candle to thank the sun for bringing the crops to fruition. -Give thanks to your family and friends for their support throughout the year. -Make a floral arrangement or decorate your home with fruits and vegetables. -Write a letter to loved ones expressing your gratitude. -Perform aarti (an offering to the gods) and burn incense to seek blessings.

Conclusion Makar Sankranti, or the Harvest Festival is a day is celebrated to mark the ripening and the beginning of the harvest season of crops. Indians celebrate the harvest festival with joy and pride. It is celebrated in various forms across the country, yet the core concept is the same. Wishing our readers a very Happy Makar Sankranti, Bihu, Pongal, Lohri, Uttarayan. May this festival bring you peace and happiness :)

Hold on! We hope you loved going through this blog. Spread the word by sharing this wonderful blog with your friends and loved ones. Make sure you plant a sapling on important occasions and behave responsibly towards the environment. Thank you very much for reading this blog :)

Article by: Anamika Singh, Curated by: Krishna Teja Reddy & Image Source: Unsplash

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