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Welcome, sunshine

P ongal-o pongal! Kai po che! Aadar aye dilather jaye! Happy cries fill the air, for mid-January is a festive time. Makara Sankaranti, the harvest festival, goes by many names and is observed in various ways in different parts of the country. The overall theme is largely the same: an opportunity to show our gratitude to Nature for its bountiful gifts. It also marks the end of winter and the onset of longer and warmer days. The festival brings families together in happiness, as people are filled with gratitude, hope and cheer. As we enter yet another year in the grip of the pandemic, the world needs positivity, and the harvest festival offers this in plenty.

Magh Bihu in Assam

ATTN. NEWS EDITOR - THE HINDU People celebrating Magh Bihu-harvesting festival of Assam (or Makar Sankranti) by lighting the traditional 'Meji' in Guwahati city on Friday, January 14, 2005. 'Magh Bihu' commemorates the new harvest where people enjoy traditional delicacies along with the new rice inside these 'Mejis' and later burn them in the following morning. This place where the 'meji' is bing lightned once used to be a paddy field but due to the increase population new flats have come up every where. Photo: Ritu_Raj_Konwar

ATTN. NEWS EDITOR - THE HINDU People celebrating Magh Bihu-harvesting festival of Assam (or Makar Sankranti) by lighting the traditional 'Meji' in Guwahati city on Friday, January 14, 2005. "Magh Bihu" commemorates the new harvest where people enjoy traditional delicacies along with the new rice inside these 'Mejis' and later burn them in the following morning. This place where the "meji" is bing lightned once used to be a paddy field but due to the increase population new flats have come up every where. Photo: Ritu_Raj_Konwar

The people of Assam celebrate Bihu three times a year: In April, when the crop-planting cycle begins; in October, to pray for a good harvest; and, in January, after the harvest has been reaped. The last is known as Magh Bihu. The day before is known as Uruka. People build temporary structures known as Bhelaghar in the fields and bonfire towers, known as meji. Early next morning, people brave the cold to watch the meji burn while they pour rice, pulses, and other items into the fire as an offering to the sun god. The essence of Magh Bihu is celebrating with the community.

Lohri in Punjab

Amritsar: College students, wearing traditional Punjabi drsses, dance during the Lohri festival celebrations in Amritsar on Friday. PTI Photo (PTI1_12_2018_000187A)

Amritsar: College students, wearing traditional Punjabi drsses, dance during the Lohri festival celebrations in Amritsar on Friday. PTI Photo (PTI1_12_2018_000187A)

Wouldn’t you enjoy breaking into an energetic round of bhangra with your friends and family? Lohri is a happy time in Punjab. People light bonfires in the fields and gather around them to sing and dance. They throw puffed rice, popcorn and other items into the fire while also eating traditional delicacies.

Uttarayan in Gujarat

AHMEDABAD, GUJARAT, 06/01/2019: National and International Kiters flying their kites in sky during the International Kite Festival 2019 at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad on January 06, 2019. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani inaugurate this festival which ends on January 14, 2019. Photo: Vijay Soneji

AHMEDABAD, GUJARAT, 06/01/2019: National and International Kiters flying their kites in sky during the International Kite Festival 2019 at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad on January 06, 2019. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani inaugurate this festival which ends on January 14, 2019. Photo: Vijay Soneji

In Gujarat, the skies come alive with thousands of colourful kites during this time. Whether you like getting into the thick of the action by flying your own kites, or just soaking in the warmth and witnessing the festivities, there’s plenty of fun in store. Add a host of delicious treats to the mix and what you have is a perfect festival package.

Pongal in Tamil Nadu

RAMANATHAPURAM: TAMIL NADU: 19 January 2021: Nagarathar women participating ‘Sevvai Pongal’ festival at Nattarasankottai in Sivaganga district on Tuesday. Photo: handout_e_mail [with report] / The Hindu

RAMANATHAPURAM: TAMIL NADU: 19 January 2021: Nagarathar women participating ‘Sevvai Pongal’ festival at Nattarasankottai in Sivaganga district on Tuesday. Photo: handout_e_mail [with report] / The Hindu

For the people of Tamil Nadu, the festival is a four-day bonanza. The first day is Bhogi , when houses are cleaned and unwanted things are burnt. Day two is Pongal , when people boil rice and milk in pots and pray to the sun god. Day three is the jolly Maatu Pongal , when cattle are the stars. The fourth day, Kaanum Pongal , is all about meeting family and sharing a good time.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 9:11:04 am | https://www.thehindu.com/children/welcome-sunshine/article38277125.ece