It’s festive time! Kites, rangolis, and mouth watering sweets!
Makar Sankranti is observed at the beginning of the Capricorn period under the sidereal zodiac, either 14 or 15 January, and signifies the arrival of warmer days. This festival is dedicated to the sun god and marks the six months auspicious period for us Hindus known as Uttaarayan. The importance of Uttaarayan is exhibited in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, where Bhishma waited for the sun to be in Uttaarayan for him to die willingly.
Sankranti is the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn, which marks the first change in the zodiac after the winter.
Makar Sankranti is believed to be a time for peace and prosperity. The speciality of this festival is, it lasts for three days (Bhogi, Sankranti and Kanuma) and comes on the same days every year. Sankranti is special for everyone in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and celebrated beautifully in the countryside. I remember lighting a bonfire early in the morning and enjoying the heat talking to cousins and grandparents until the fires are out. But the situation is different now and everyone in the countryside is moving towards the cities in search of livelihood, education and better standard of living. Since the rural areas are underdeveloped and prevalence of illiteracy, migration has increased earlier but this is beginning to change. According to Ministry of Home Affairs, India,
Out of about 98 million, total intra-state and inter-state migrants in the country during last decade, 61 million have moved to rural areas and 36 million to urban areas. Migration stream out of rural areas(73 million) to another rural areas was quite high (53million) in comparison to from rural to urban areas (20 million). About 6 million migrants went to rural areas from urban areas. On the basis of net migrants by last residence during the past decade, i.e., the difference between in migration and out migration, in each state, Maharastra stands at the top of the list with 2.3 million net migrants, followed by Delhi (1.7 million), Gujrat (0.68 million) and Haryana (0.67 million) as per census. Uttar Pradesh (-2.6 million) and Bihar (-1.7 million) were the two states with largest number of net migrants migrating out of the state. There are various reasons for migration as per information collected in Census 2001 for migration by last residence. Most of the female migrants have cited ‘Marriage’ as the reason for migration, especially when the migration is within the state. For males, the major reasons for migration are ‘work/employment’ and ‘education’.
Due to several reforms and government policies, people are now able to get what they need even in their villages. Just like the zodiac movement that occurs once every year, many people visit their villages once on sankranti every year. Even I am going to visit my grandparents today, stay there for a couple of days and hopefully migrate to the countryside when I’m old.(because nothing is as beautiful and as peaceful as life in a village)
Sankranti is a festival of colours, delicious food and most importantly, the festival for kids visiting their elders.