Uttarayan or Sankranti is just around the corner. We are getting excited to celebrate after the winters. It’s not only celebrated in one part of India though. Did you know Sankranti is celebrated in many parts of India? Check the below list out and notice the similarities between the Indian states, north and south.
- Gujarat: Gujarat is the epicenter of Uttarayan celebrations, where it’s a grand and vibrant affair. The entire state comes alive with colorful kites adorning the skies. Gujaratis indulge in kite flying competitions, locally known as “patangutsav,” with participants showcasing their kite-flying skills. Special dishes like undhiyu, chikkis, and sesame sweets (til-gud) are prepared and shared among friends and family. Cultural performances, traditional music, and dance are also part of the festivities. They also host the International Kite Festival in Ahmedabad since 1989.
- Rajasthan: This state is known for its epic kite-flying competitions. The kites are intricate and beautiful and are accompanied by lively traditional music and dance performances. Special dishes like til laddoos and til-patti (sesame seed sweets) are prepared and enjoyed.
- Maharashtra: In Mumbai and Pune, people fly kites and people exchange tilgul ladoos made from sesame seeds and jaggery, along with the saying “Tilgul ghya, god god bola” (Accept these sweets and speak sweetly). After a long day of kite flying, they light bonfires in the evening and offer prayers. In rural areas, families light bonfires to celebrate the harvest season.
- Tamil Nadu: Uttarayan is celebrated as Pongal, a four day harvest festival. The first day, “Bhogi Pongal,” involves discarding old items and welcoming the new. The second day, “Thai Pongal,” is dedicated to preparing a special dish made of newly harvested rice called Pongal. The third day, “Mattu Pongal,” honors cattle and livestock. The fourth day, ‘Kaanum Pongal’ is a day for family outings and picnics. They create stunning and decorative rangoli designs that adorn doorsteps.
- Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: In these states, Makar Sankranti is known as “Sankranthi.” People exchange sweets made from sesame seeds and jaggery. A dish called Pongal is prepared with newly harvested rice and lentils.
- West Bengal: Kolkata observes Poush Sankranti with the famous Ganga Sagar Mela, where thousands of devotees take a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganges River and the Bay of Bengal to cleanse their souls. They exchange sweets like “pithe” and “patishapta.”
- Karnataka: Folks in this state exchange ellu-bella, a delightful mix of sesame seeds, jaggery, and other ingredients, symbolizing the mixture of the sweet and bitter experiences of life. They also whip up traditional dishes like yellu bella and sakkare achu.
- Uttar Pradesh: In Lucknow, Makar Sankranti is known as “Khichdi.” Devotees take holy dips in the Ganges River, offer prayers to the Sun God, Surya, and savor special dishes like khichdi, a popular dish made from a mix of rice and lentils.
- Punjab: Punjab goes big with Lohri celebrations. Bonfires, traditional follk songs, and dance are the highlights. They express gratitude for the winter harvest and seek blessings for a bountiful year ahead. Traditional dishes like sarson da saag and makki di roti are prepared.
- Assam: Assam celebrates Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu. It’s a harvest festival marked by traditional games, feasting, and bonfires. They build temporary huts called ‘mejis’ and light them on fire.
- Kerala: Kerala observes special harvest rituals and offerings, expressing gratitude for the bountiful harvest.
- Himachal Pradesh: Traditional folk dances and music take center stage in Himachal Pradesh. Bonfires bring communities together.
- Bihar: In Bihar, they decorate cattle, especially bulls, and parade them through the village. It’s a unique way to honor these animals’ role in farming.
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Islanders celebrate Uttarayan with kite flying, traditional music, and dance. Special dishes using coconuts and local ingredients are prepared.
- Goa: In Goa, the festival includes the preparation of traditional sweets and offerings to the Gods. Community feasts and cultural events are common.
- Jharkhand: Kite flying is a popular tradition in Jharkhand. People come together to celebrate with music and dance.
- Meghalaya: Meghalaya celebrates with traditional dances like “Shad Nongkrem” and traditional sports. Local cuisine adds to the festive atmosphere.
- Uttarakhand: Special pujas and prayers are offered to Shiva Bhagwan and other Gods. Devotees visit temples to seek blessings for a prosperous year ahead.
If you are interested in sharing the rich culture and traditions with your kids or want to share it with kids of friends or family, I wrote a book to help you do that. This kid’s book shares the experiences of a father and son duo living in the USA. The father remembers his childhood and relives memories through this experience with his son!