Makara Sankranthi, or Makar Sankrant, marks the commencement of the Sun's (Surya) journey to the Northern Hemisphere (Makara rasi). In 2013, date of Makar Sankranti in
Maharashtra is January 14. It signifies the onset of Uttarayan or Uttarayana Punyakalam and is a major celebration all over . In Marathi culture, on Makar Sankranti day people exchange grains of multicolored sugar balls and fried til (sesame) mixed with molasses (til gul). India
Makar Sankranti is the season of the first sugarcane harvest in
Maharashtra. The sugarcanes are ready to be made into fresh jaggery and this is reflected in the sweets distributed during the period.
In many regions in
Maharashtra people wear black colored dress on Makar Sankranti day. As per Hindu customs and traditions, it is inauspicious to wear black but since it is winter black is worn on the day to keep the body warm. A lot of importance is given to til (sesame seeds) due to the same reason. Sesame seeds (Til) are used to combat the cold in winter, as sesame contains oil which is healthy. This once again proves the wisdom of ancient Hindus who insisted on a particular type of food during a particular season.
So friends, relatives and neighbors exchange Til Gul on the day and say ‘til gud ghya, god god bola’ – let there be only friendship and good thoughts between us.
Each region in
Maharashtra has a particular custom associated with Makar Sankranti and its roots can be traced to farming and the harvest season.
Another major highlight on the day is kite flying. During the season colorful kites dot the skies in the region.