Bhubaneswar: Makarsankranti is known in different names in different parts of the country. In Tamil Nadu, it’s called Pongal, Lohri in Panjab, Bihu/Magh Bihu in Assam and Makar Sankranti in Odisha. The festival is celebrated about agriculture and agricultural products. It is observed on January 14 (January 15 in case of a leap year) every year with lots of grandeur and merriment all over the State.
The festival denotes that it’s the beginning of Sun’s transition into Makara Rashi (Capricorn). It also signifies the departure of the winter season and the onset of longer days.
Even though this festival is mostly attributed to agriculture and harvest, many other traditions are correlated with it in Odisha. On this very festival, as the transition of the Sun occurs, many people worship the Sun God for their and their family’s wellbeing.
So as it is a festival to worship Sun God as well people in huge number visit the Konark temple in Puri for offering puja to the Sun God.
To understand the name Konark, ‘Kona’, which means corner in English and ‘Ark’ means Sun. The place becomes so famous and important for the people as it is a temple dedicated to the Sun God, which is recognized all over the world for its architectural splendours. The architecture of the temple resembles the chariot of the Sun God attached with 24 wheels and steered by seven horses.
There is a strong belief among the people that if the Sun God is worshipped on the occasion of Makara Sankranti, God acknowledges the prayers and protects the worshipers from all their problems. On this holy day, there is a tradition of devotees taking a dip in the Chandrabhaga Sea and offering prayers to the Sun God.
This pious festival is observed elegantly in various religious places in the state. It is celebrated grandly at the Jagannath Tempel in Puri, at Hatakeshwar temple at Atri in Khordha, Dhabaleswar Temple in Cuttack and Makara Muni temple in Balasore.
Like all other festivals in Odisha, this is also incomplete without the traditional, mouth-watering sweets and delicacies. The speciality of this festival is it’s a traditional dish called ‘Makara chaula’, which is prepared with newly harvested rice. flying kites of different colours, sizes and shapes are also another unique tradition equated with this festival.
Due to the predominant pandemic situation, the festival has been celebrated privately, without any congregation, to withstand the covid situation and prevent the spread of the virus.