Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday extended his heartfelt greeting to the people of Odisha on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti.
The CM took to Twitter handle and wrote: “Greetings and best wishes on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti. May this festival bring joy and prosperity for you and your loved ones.”
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) January 14, 2019
Religious dips and special prayers marked Makar Sankranti that was celebrated with tradition fervour and gaiety in several parts of the state.
People took holy dips in ponds and rivers and visited temples. Many devotees converged on the pilgrim town of Puri and visited the temple of Lord Jagannath to witness the special rituals on the occasion. They also thronged Konark and worshipped the Sun God as the sun started its annual shift towards the Earth’s northern hemisphere.
Similarly, many devotees thronged Jagannath Temple in Mayurbhanj’s Baripada and Hatakeswar Temple in Khurda to conduct special rituals at Atri hot spring.
Devotees in the Capital city visited Lingaraj Temple and Sun Temple to offer prayers and took religious dip in Bindusagar Lake and Chandrabhaga sea beach respectively.
People prepared a special dish made with newly harvested rice, sugar, banana, coconut and black pepper and offered it to the gods. Some exchanged a special dish ‘Makar Chaula’ among themselves. Many believe that a ritual bath on Makar Sankranti would wash away their sins.
Tribal groups lit bonfires, danced and organised feasts on the eve of Makar Sankranti in various places of Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts.
Kite-flying competitions were organised in places like Cuttack and other towns with fun and enthusiasm.
Makar Sankranti, the harvesting festival of India, refers both to a specific solar day in the Hindu calendar and an Indian festival in reference to deity Surya (sun) that is observed in January every year on this day.
It marks the first day of sun’s transit into the Makara (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.
The festivities associated with Makar Sankranti are known by various names such as ‘Lohri’ by north Indian Hindus and Sikhs, ‘Sukarat’ in central India, ‘Magh Bihu’ by Assamese, and ‘Pongal’ by Tamilians.
On this auspicious occasion, devotees take a holy dip in water bodies and visit temples early in the morning seeking blessings from the Almighty as it is believed that the ritual of taking a holy dip on Makar Sankranti wash away their sins.
In Ganjam district, which has a sizable Telugu population, people decorated the front of their houses with colourful rangoli and celebrated Pongal.