Photograph (used here for representational purposes only): Shutterstock
The New Year is underway and with it begins the cycle of festivals in India. India has its share of festivals and auspicious days on every month of the day and it all begins with Makar Sankranti. Usually, January 14 is the day when the country celebrates Makar Sankranti. One of the few Hindu festivals celebrated as per the solar cycle, Makar Sankranti marks the transit of the sun into the Makara (Capricorn) rashi. It also marks the end of the harvest season in several parts of India. Karnataka in south India for instance, celebrates Sankranti as a harvest festival. It is also called Suggi and is an extremely significant day for farmers. Suggi Habba 2018 falls on January 15 and so, the state of Karnataka will bring in its festivities today. ALSO SEE Makar Sankranti 2018: Best Places to Visit on This Festive Weekend
In Karnataka, Sankranti rituals begin with girls dressing up in new, ethnic clothes and visiting families of friends and relatives with a plate consisting of a piece of sugarcane and ellu-bella, a preparation of sesame seeds, coconut, fired groundnuts and jaggery. Just like the phrase “til gul ghya, god god bola” is famous during Sankranti in Maharashtra, the phrase “ellu bella thindu olle maathadi” is popular in Karnataka. Apart from this, other auspicious items that are exchanged between people include bananas, red berries, haldi and kumkum. Small gift items too are presented to family and friends on this festive occasion. CHECK OUT Makar Sankranti 2018: All the Ways in Which Makar Sankranti is Celebrated
Another ritual that is peculiar to Karnataka’s Sankranti is one in which newly married women present bananas to other married women for five years. The number of bananas needs to increase by a multiple of 5 every year. In some parts, red berries are gifted to loved ones and neighbours. DO SEE Makar Sankranti 2018 Celebration in Jaipur: International Kite Festival, Delicacies and More
Like most other festivals, people clean their houses before the day of Sankranti and decorate their courtyards with colorful rangolis. Kite flying is a prominent part of Sankranti in several places of India. In Karnataka, the northern part of the state indulges into this ritual with several enthusiasts participating in kite flying events. In rural Karnataka, people perform a ritual named “Kichchu Haayisuvudu” in which cows are decorated and taken on a procession in the village.