India, the most diverse country in the world, is all set to celebrate three winter festivals Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal from Friday. The festivals are predominantly harvest festivals and are celebrated throughout India, from north to south and east to west. While Makar Sankranti is most popular in West India, down south, the festival is known as Pongal and in the north, it is celebrated as Lohri. The festival of bonfire, delicious food, greetings, and togetherness is here again to make this winter unforgettable. Yes, this is indeed the most joyous time of the year!!
Lohri is just not about peanuts and bonfires , it is a popular winter time Punjabi folk festival. This festival is traditionally associated with the harvest of the rabi crops. The Punjabi farmers see the day after Lohri (Maghi) as the financial New Year, celebrated primarily by Sikhs and Hindus.
Lohri marks the end of winter season, and is a traditional welcome of longer days and sun’s journey to the northern hemisphere. It is observed the night before Makar Sankranti and is celebrated with a bonfire. Sugarcane products such as gurh and gachak are central to Lohri celebrations, as are nuts which are harvested in January. The other important food item of Lohri is radish which can be harvested between October and January. Singing and dancing are an essential part of the celebrations. People put on their brightest clothes on this day and do bhangra and gidda on the beat of the dhol. Mostly, people serve sarson ka saag and makke ki roti in dinner.
Makar Sankranti is the festival of til-gul where sesame and jaggery laddoos or chikkis are distributed among all. Makar Sankranti is celebrated differently in various parts of the country. Some parts of the country fly kites or ‘patang’ and also contests are held across the state for the same. People from Bihar and Jharkhand celebrate the festival by bathing in ponds and rivers and having sweet dishes such as Tilgud (small balls made of sesame seed and jiggery) on this day. Tilgud is the iconic dish of the festival all across the country. They also eat delicious Khichari this day as part of the celebration.
Makar Sankranti is believed to be a time for peace and prosperity. The day is regarded as important for spiritual practices and accordingly people take a holy dip in rivers, especially Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery. The bathing is believed to wash away sins.
‘Pongal’ is celebrated especially in South India. It is a one of the biggest 3-day festival. The festival is a thanks giving ceremony in which the farmers celebrate the event to thank the spirits of nature spirit, the Sun and the farm animals for their assistance in providing a successful harvest. The rest of the people celebrate the festival to pay their thanks to the farmers for the production of food. Overall, it is a festival to encourage social cohesiveness and unite people by bringing them together in a common function. There are many songs about Thai Pongal and there is much Tamil
India is an agricultural economy and most of the festival celebrate the agricultural harvest . This further emphasises the role of the farmer in our lives .Our gratitude towards them should be in the form of fair agricultural practices