Representational image
Representational image

Makar Sankranti will be taking place on Wednesday to mark the first day of the sun's transit into Makara, symbolising the end of the winter and the begging on longer days, sunlight, and harvests.

But this brings us to an important question - what exactly are the traditions followed during this celebration? Now, traditions may vary slightly from place to place, but for the purpose of this article, we are focusing on Maharashtra.

From wearing sugar jewellery (halwyache dagine) to flying kites and feasts -- it is an interesting time of the year.

There are also ceremonies such suneche tilavan (welcoming of a new bride) and balache bornhan -- where children are showered with gifts.

People exchange colourful halwa and til-gul laddos, while food items such as puran poli are offered for lunch.

The Marathi phrase, "tilgul ghya goad goad bola" accompanies the proffered sweets. This comment roughly translates to "accept this til-gul and say sweet words".

Women don traditional clothes, such as a black nauvari for the occasion, and adorn themselves with the halwyache dagine. Even men wear black for the occasion.

Now this particular type of jewellery is made out of sugar and roasted sesame seeds combined with sabudana and sugar powder. Made in select places, this can be either ordered from a jeweller or rented temporarily.

The festivities don't end with the end of the day. Normally, Makar Sankranti is a three-day festival in Maharashtra, and in the ensuing week, haldi-kumkum celebrations will be held in many households. This will see Maharashtrian women apply auspicious colours to each other followed by an exchange of sweets and gifts.

On Monday, the Punjabi community celebrated Lohri with bonfires, music and dancing. During this particular festival, freshly harvested wheat and rebdi is offered to the fire and the families share sweets.

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