New Delhi, Jan 14: Makara Sankranti, a harvest festival is being celebrated across the nation. It is also marked by kite-flying. The skies are dotted with innumerable colourful kites of various shapes and sizes to celebrate the festival.
In Uttar Pradesh, Sankranti is called 'Khichiri'. A large number of people takes a dip in the holy rivers and pray to God Sun. Til' has a special significance on this day.'Tilkut', 'Tilba' and other forms of 'Til' are also taken with 'Chura' and also with 'Khichiri'. It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of the country as 'Pongal'. It is very popular particularly amongst farmers. Rice and pulses cooked together in ghee and milk is offered to the family deity after the ritual worship.
In Punjab, huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankranti, which is celebrated as 'Lohri'. Sweets, sugarcane and rice are offered to the bonfires, around which friends and relatives gather together. The following day, which is Sankranti, is celebrated as 'Maghi'. Then they sit down and eat the sumptuous food that is specially prepared for the occasion.
Makar Sankranti marks the end of a long winter with the return of the Sun to the Northern Hemisphere and hence it is named as Uttarayan.