Festivals are my favourite time of the year. It reminds us that despite all of the ups and downs of everyday life, we are united by one benevolent mighty force. By far, my favourite harvest festival is Makar Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of January of every year marking the transition of the sun to the Capricorn and is additionally used to show respect towards the crop grounds which are responsible for all the food that we grow. Because of India’s vast cultures, procedures vary indefinitely from person to person, however, the rituals that I perform are probably similar to those that a vast majority of people. Let me walk you through it from the start of the day to the finish. In the Hindu culture, we believe that God comes in the form of different natural components. We have a god for most physical features, in the same manner, we have a sun god named ‘Surya’. Although my knowledge in science and other scientists’ ideals are depreciative of the existence of gods, I still believe that having faith is something that can take you a long way especially when it seems like nothing is going your way. Additionally, personifying natural components makes us preserve Earth’s beauty and treat it well. I start my day early. In excitement, I normally wake up everyone in my house and sometimes even my neighbors, this understandably makes them quite grumpy, but to me, it’s worth it if it means I get an early start to this festival. After I wake up, I have an oil bath. Apart from religious significance, oil baths also help me relax, improve blood circulation and give me a general bright glow to start the day. As the day starts for everyone else in the house, my mom and sister draw rangolis right outside our house. I am always fascinated by the math involved in ancient rangolis and its symmetry.
At breakfast time, my mom makes Pongal; a dish that essentially consists of rice mixed with boiled milk and sugar. Pongal keeps getting tastier each year, and it’s an amazing way to start the day.
After that, my sister, I, and a couple of our friends fly kites.
This is another festive procedure that we follow during Sankranti. To me, this is a perfect time to do so because the wind is normally the strongest at this time. With the help of my dad and other adults, we manage to keep our kites in the air for a steady amount of time. In the middle of the day, we like to snack on a combination of sesame seeds and jaggery, more commonly known as ‘Ellu Bella’.
Words cannot describe how scrumptious this delicacy is. As this festival pertains to the sun, we worship Lord Surya. We decide to perform some of the traditional rituals. We start by lighting a bonfire in front of an idol of Surya. In Indian culture, the bright light emitted from fires is supposed to make God happy and is a pivotal part of our worshiping procedure. We offer a delicacy called ‘Daan Dakshina’ which is a mixture of rice, lentils, and sesame ladoo to god.
This is our way of returning the favors that he has done for us. After our prayers, we eat lemon rice and Pongal for lunch. Our Indian diet has a lovely way to balance out all the food that we have eaten, making the lemon rice something to look forward to.
After that, my sister goes to our neighbors’ houses and we share sugarcane, Ellu Bella, etc. This symbolizes sharing and spreading happiness. Since my sister is too young to walk on the roads on her own, I have to accompany her in going to other people’s houses. This gives people a feeling of togetherness and just makes me happy. By now, it is already dinner time; Makar Sankranti days keep getting quicker and quicker. I eat festive food and then hit my bed for well-earned sleep and relaxation. Now, onto tomorrow and looking forward to long summer days!