January 14 is an important date for the Hindus. It marks the sun’s transition from the Dakshinayan position to the Uttarayan, bringing in a positive and auspicious time. If we look back into India’s history, one such important event was the third battle of Panipat, which started on January 14,1761. Many astrologers believe the war occurred when the sun was in Dakshinayan position. At that time, the Maratha authority was growing, and they controlled a large area that stretched from the Indus in the north to the southern regions of the subcontinent. They also had authority over Delhi because the Mughal Emperor was a fictitious ruler.
The conflict between the Maratha soldiers and the invading Afghan forces occurred at Panipat, roughly 97 kilometres from Delhi. The Afghans were ruled by Ahmed Shah Durrani, who received assistance from Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh, and the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab. The Marathas, on the other hand, could not get the backing. Despite being stopped, the Maratha uprising retook Delhi in ten years. This battle is essential not in the sense of who will rule but because it eliminated one of the prospective rulers of Bharat. The sun’s positioning, according to astrology, brought bad luck to the Marathas.
So generally, ordinary people only engage in auspicious work or activity one month before January 14. However, for ages, the people in Bharat have observed this particular period of transition in their ways, depending on their region. As mentioned, January 14, is the day the sun begins to rise in the Makara Rashi, Sankranti meaning entering. People make prayers by bathing in the revered Ganges. On this day, Surya is also said to visit Shani, putting all their conflicts behind them. Farmers gather to celebrate this holiday since it is associated with the harvest of food grains. Depending on their area, culture, and tradition, every part of the country uniquely marks the beginning of the harvest season.
The harvest festival is also lavishly observed in Tamil Nadu. In the State, the harvest festival is referred to as Pongal. And it is regarded as a method of giving thanks to God for the harvest of the season. Within four days, this event is noticed. The Bhogi festival is observed on the first day of Pongal. It is celebrated to honour Bhagwan Indra, the rain god, who lived once upon a time. Every year on January 13, the populace observes the Punjabi festival Lohri. The festival is connected to the winter agricultural harvest. Punjabi farmers mark Makar Sankranti (Maghi), the day after Lohri, as the start of the new fiscal year. Sankranti, also known as Poush Sankranti, is a harvest celebration known as Poush Parbon in West Bengal. It is called after the Bengali month in which it happens (the last date of that month).
The Bengalis have a variety of options this month to indulge in their favourite sweet treats. A number of traditional Bengali sweets known as “Pitha” are produced using rice flour, coconut, milk, and “khejurer gur,” or date palm jaggery, and are made with freshly harvested paddy and date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur and Patali. On January 14 and 15, the event is observed in Bihar and Jharkhand. Small-scale planning goes into organising flying festivals.
To commemorate successful harvests, people bathe in ponds and rivers and eat seasonal fare. Chura, gur (jaggery), til (sesame seeds) sweets like tilgul, tilwa, maska, etc., curd, milk, and seasonal vegetables are among the delights. Kite flying is associated with Uttarayan. One of the main events celebrated is the International Kite Festival (Uttarayan). Gujarati families start making kites for the celebration months in advance. There are joyful individuals anticipating celebrations in every street and corner of the state. Kite flying begins the festival celebrations in Gujarat at around five in the morning. The four-day Sankranti festival is observed in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Hindu Telugu women decorate their front doors with geometric designs made with coloured rice flour, or “mugu.”
The harvest festival is also lavishly observed in Tamil Nadu. In the State, the harvest festival is referred to as Pongal. And it is regarded as a method of giving thanks to God for the harvest of the season. Within four days, this event is noticed. The Bhogi festival is observed on the first day of Pongal
A harvest festival known as Magh Bihu, Bhogali Bihu (Bihu of eating foods and delight), or Maghar Domahi, is observed in Assam to mark the conclusion of the harvesting season in the month of Maagha (January–February). It is Makar Sankranti, a festival celebrated in Assam during which a week of feasting is observed.
Feasts and bonfires mark the festival. Young people build Meji and Bhelaghar, improvised huts made of bamboo, leaves, and thatch.
In Bhelaghar, they eat the food prepared for the feast before burning the cottages the following morning. Like the rest of the nation, individuals share sweets in the shape of sugar-coated pulse granules with family and friends on Sankrant. This holiday is celebrated in Goa. Five sunghat, or tiny clay pots with black beaded threads strung around them, are offered to the deity by newlywed ladies. The Hindu holiday “Sakraant” is observed in rural portions of Haryana and Delhi in a manner reminiscent of Western UP and the Rajasthan and Punjab borderlands.
This entails ceremonial purification through holy immersion in rivers, particularly the Yamuna, or at sacred ponds like the ancient sarovars in Kurukshetra, as well as at regional tirtha ponds connected to the ancestor guardian/village creator deity known as Jathera or Dhok in villages to wash away sins. Makar Sankranti is observed as “Uttrain” in Jammu. As an alternative, this festival has also been referred to as Attrain or Attrani. To mark the conclusion of the Poh month, Dogras observe Lohri the day prior.
It is also the start of the Hindu Solar Calendar’s Magha month, also called “Maghi Sangrand.” This is the Karnataka farmers’ Suggi or harvest festival. Girls dress up in new clothing on this auspicious day to visit loved ones, bring an offering of Sankranti on a plate, and trade it with other families. The name of this ceremony is “Ellu Birodhu.” On this platter, “Ellu” (white sesame seeds) are frequently combined with fried groundnuts, dry coconut, and finely chopped Bella.