Lohri Pongal Sankranti fest is the first Indian festival in the new year, It is celebrated across India to welcome the new harvest season. Each geographic location celebrates Sankranti in a unique way with varying cultural significance. But, it is interesting to note that it is celebrated on the same day all over the country since Makar Sankranti signifies the entry of sun into the zodiac of Capricorn., the beginning of ‘Uttarayan’.
#Lohri Pongal Sankranti fest in northern states
In the northern states of Delhi and Haryana on Sankranti day sweets are made of pure ghee such as churma. halwa etc. It is also customary for a brother to visit his married sister and gift her and everyone in her marital home with winter clothing.
Makar Sankranti in the northern state of Punjab Sankranti is observed as Maghi. It is customary for people to bath in a river before daybreak. Hindus light diyas (lamps) using sesame oil to ward off sins and seek prosperity. Sikhs observe this day as a day of homage to 40 soldiers who laid down their lives in the battle of Muktsar in 1705 fighting for the 10th Sikh Guru Shri Guru Gobind Singhji.
The state of Himachal Pradesh celebrates Sankranti as Magh Saaji. It is believed the season of bird migration to hills of the state begins during this time. During the day people meet and eat khichdi and ghee and butter milk (chaas). later in the evening the festival concludes with folk dances and songs.
## Lohri Pongal Sankranti Fest in westren states
In the western state of Rajasthan Sankranti is celebrated with sweet dishes that are known to be delicacies of the region such as pheni (vermicelli milk sweet), til-patti (sweet sesame bars}ghevar, gajak (peanut -sesame brittle made with jaggery) to name a few. On this day youngsters have fun by taking part in vigorously fought Kite flying competition.
In the western state of Maharashtra on Sankranti day people meet and greet exchange sweets made of jaggery and sesame seeds saying ‘til-gul ghyaa aani goad-goad bola’ which translates to saying eat the sweets made of til and jaggery and speak sweet words. Puran poli is a delicacy that is made on this day. The neighboring state of Goa during Sankranti women exchange ‘Haldi Kumum’.
In the state of Gujarat Sankranti is celebrated with much fanfare for two days. Mixed vegetable curry undhiyu) and peanut brittle that is made with jaggery are some of the delicacies that are enjoyed during this time. But kite flying is the much-awaited sport during the Sankranti celebrations enjoyed by people across the state.
In the southern state of Tamil Nadu Lohri Pongal Sankranti fest is celebrated for 4 days as 'Thai Pongal' from last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to 3rd day of the Tamil month Thai. It is believed that ‘Thai ‘ month of Tamil calendar brings in prosperity peace ,health and removes all obstacles implied by the saying ‘Thai Piranthal vazi pirrakkum’.On the first day ‘Bhogi’ the households are cleaned; old unwanted things are trashed. The main idea behind cleaning and taking the trash out is to drive home the point besides cleaning our homes it is also to remind ourselves to clean our minds as well of all the impurities. The second day is celebrated as ‘Pongal’ This day farmers show their gratitude to the Sun god by offering their first harvest to the Sun god. Pongal is a sweet dish made with milk and the rice from the new harvest that s offered to the Sun god along with sugar cane. Married women receive gifts from their brother. The third day is celebrated as ‘Maattupongal’ when farmers worship the cattle. On this day farmers show their gratitude to the cows, calves and bulls by decorating them and worshipping them. The feast and fun continue on the fourth and final day that is celebrated as ‘Kaanum Pongal’ when the feast and fun continues as people visit their friends and relatives.
In Karnataka Sankranti is celebrated as Suggi and the day is considered to be very auspicious. Wearing new dresses girls visit friends and relatives to gift a mixture of white sesame seeds mixed with groundnuts, dry coconut pieces and neatly cut jaggery. Sugar candy red berries and haldi kumkum are also given as gifts. Kite flying and rangoli drawing are also part of the celebration much enjoyed by the people of Karnataka. Cows and bulls are dressed in eye-catching costumes and taken on a procession.
In the eastern state of Assam Sankranti is celebrated for a week as Bhogali Bihu. Feasts, bonfires are the hall mark of Sankranti festival in Assam. Games such as buffalo fighting, and pot braking are also played. Variations of rice cake called ‘pitha’, and coconut sweets are delicacies enjoyed by Assamese people at this time of the year.
Another eastern region state West Bengal celebrates Sankranti as Poush Sankranti. Peopletake holy dip in the Ganga Sagar the confluences of river Ganges and Bay of Bengal. Fresh vegetables and sweets made with the rice flour from the freshly harvested paddy and date pal jaggery, coconut are offered to the God.
Lohri is celebrated a day ahead of Sankranti in the state of Punjab as a harvest festival expressing gratitude to the Mother earth, sun God, fields and the fire .Celebrated singing and dancing around a bonfire. Eating rewari, popcorn ,peanut around the bonfire is a tradition. It is also part of the tradition to eat sweet seam same rice, gajak , makki di roti (bread made from corn meal), sarson da saag (mustard greens). Lohri is also celebrated in the state of Haryana.
What are you waiting for?All roads lead to RKT, Dallas on 13th Jan, 2020, 5 p.m -8.30 p,m. Celebrate unity in diversity with Dallas desi community. Mark your calendar and be there at 5 p.m. sharp!!!
Take glimpse of the 2019 Lohri celebration at the RKT, Dallas ;