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Indian Harvest Festivals: Sankranti, Pongal, Lohri


India  •  15 Jan, 2024  •  94,239 Views  •  ⭐ 2.0

Written by Shivani Chourasia


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Embark on a journey through the rich tapestry of India's harvest festivals, a kaleidoscope of cultural and spiritual celebrations that paint a vivid picture of the nation's heritage. Prominent among these are Makar Sankranti, Pongal, and Lohri, each a harbinger of the transition from the chilly embrace of winter to the welcoming warmth of the coming months. Intricately tied to the sun's northward sojourn, these festivals are deeply rooted in Hindu cosmology and are celebrated with fervour across the subcontinent. While typically observed on January 14th, the leap year phenomenon shifts the festivities to January 15th in years like 2024, adding a unique rhythm to the annual calendar.

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The Astronomical Significance

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These festivals hold a special place in the astronomical landscape of India. The Earth’s elliptical orbit around the Sun, along with its axial tilt, brings about the change in seasons. The Northern Hemisphere, where India is located, experiences the sun tilting towards it in June and away in December, marking the solstices.

Celebrating the Seasonal Shift

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Makar Sankranti and Pongal symbolize the end of winter’s dormancy. The northward movement of the sun, or Uttarayan, is believed to bring longer days, signalling a time of activity and renewal.

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Rituals and Customs: Honoring the Sun and Nature

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Devotees engage in various rituals such as holy baths, offerings to the Sun deity, charity, and ancestral rites during the auspicious period of Punya Kaal. If Makar Sankranti occurs post-sunset, these activities are deferred to the following sunrise.

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