NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday greeted the nation on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Magh Bihu.
India is a land of immense devotion and festivities, where we have a plethora of cultures and traditions. When it comes to the Hindu culture, Makar Sankranti is one significant festival dedicated to Lord Surya or the Sun God.
Makar Sankranti heralds the end of winter and the start of longer days as the sun moves northward. And this period is known as Uttarayan and is considered to be very auspicious.
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Modi said, “Happy Makar Sankranti. Greetings for the great festival of nature and culture. May this festival infuses enthusiasm and gaiety into everyone’s life. May the blessings of Surya Dev be with all.”
In Tamil Nadu, people celebrate Pongal, the winter harvest festival with pomp and show. Pongal is a four-day harvest festival dedicated to the Sun God. The celebrations, associated with the sun, are celebrated by making colourful Kolams and preparing traditional food in Tamil Nadu.
Prime Minister also extended greetings on the occasion of Pongal.
“Pongal greetings to everyone, particularly the Tamil people worldwide. May this festival bring happiness and wonderful health in our lives,” he tweeted.
It is essentially a thanksgiving festival, wherein farmers thank nature, the Sun God and the farm animals for helping in the production of crops, while other people thank the farmers for producing the crops.
To mark the festival, the Pongal sweet dish is prepared and is first offered to the gods and goddesses followed by, sometimes, an offering to cows.
The word ‘Pongal’ in Tamil means ‘to boil’, it is also the name of a sweet dish made out of boiled rice, moong dal, milk and jaggery, which is prepared specially to mark the harvest festival.
In Assam, people celebrate ‘Magh Bihu’. It is also called ‘Bhogali Bihu’ as it is celebrated with community feasts after the annual harvest takes place.
People began the day by gathering at a temple, offering prayers, reciting mantras and beating up the drums. They also took a walk around the bonfire.
Extending his greetings, PM Modi said, “Best wishes on Magh Bihu. I hope this festival deepens our bond with nature and furthers the atmosphere of joy.”
Magh Bihu falls in the month of ‘Magh’ during mid-January. The highlight of this festival is the food, which is made from the abundance of grains after the harvest. (ANI)