Makar Sankranti, one of the most ancient festivals of India, is celebrated as Uttarayan in Gujarat. Dedicated to the Sun god, Uttarayan marks the arrival of spring. Gujarat’s Uttarayan festivities are rich in traditions. Kite flying, making delicacies with til (sesame seeds) and gur (jaggery), the ritual of taking a holy bath in the rivers are an integral part of Uttarayan festivities. Uttarayan is the auspicious six-month period between Makar Sankranti and Karka Sankranti. On Makar Sankranti, the Sun makes its northward journey and moves into Makara constellation and on Karaka Sankranti, the reverse happens when the Sun moves southwards and the Dakshinayan period starts.
Uttarayan in Gujarat is a time of great merry making and the festival also marks the beginning of the harvest season. It is believed that after a chilly winter, the bright sunshine of Uttarayan brings good health and happiness and to mark the change of season, people like to get out of their houses and enjoy the sunshine. Kite flying, a cheerful activity, traditionally became closely linked the festival. Many people also see this as an expression of gratitude to the Sun god.
Twitter is abuzz with wishes, pictures, videos and messages of Uttarayan. Union Home Minister Amit Shah today visited the Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad and offered prayers.
उत्तरायण के पावन अवसर पर आज अहमदाबाद के सुप्रसिद्ध श्री जगन्नाथ मंदिर में पूजा अर्चना की। महाप्रभु जगन्नाथ सभी पर अपनी कृपा बनायें। जय जगन्नाथ! pic.twitter.com/F4U7gFQz7U
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) January 14, 2021
Others posted videos of flying kites with their families on the terrace. This year, there are restrictions on kite flying due to the Covid pandemic but people have been allowed Uttarayan activities on a smaller scale.
Had a great time flying kites with family. I hope you are also having a safe and happy Uttarayan! pic.twitter.com/8v6SzI1Oi3
— Shankar Chaudhary (@ChaudhryShankar) January 14, 2021
May the northward journey of Sun bring peace, prosperity, happiness, and spirituality in everybody’s life! Warmest greetings to everyone. #Makarsankranti#Pongal#MaghBihu#Uttarayanpic.twitter.com/OkaZcIkAke
— Dr.Omkar Rai (@Omkar_Raii) January 14, 2021
On Uttarayan, Gujarat holds the International Kite Festival. Traditionally, kite flying starts early in the morning and goes on till late night. The kite festival was first started in 1989 and since then tourists from across the globe travel to Gujarat for the grand event.
Happy Makar Sankranti to all!