Today happens to be 14th January. Each day on this year, folks at home celebrate Makar Sankrant. At home, ma will prepare tilgul ladoos (sweet sesame-and-jaggery balls), distribute them to neighbours & family while saying 'tilgul gya, godd godd bola (meaning 'take the sweet, and then talk sweetly). Ain't that sweet?
The festival is celebrated in different ways in other parts of the country. Some will fly kites & exchange gifts, while others (especially the nothern, colder states) will light bonfires & dance to the point of exhaustion.
Anywho, came across this very informative write up on the significance of this festival. Do take a moment to read it to understand why this day is celebrated the way it is. Its a pretty long article so for those who might not have time to read it all, I am pasting an excerpt here that stuck with me the most:
How to Celebrate:
1. Get up early in the morning, before sunrise, have bath and be ready with water & flowers for the sunrise. Worship the rising Sun, by offering water, flowers with both the hands & then pray with folded hands by chanting the Gayatri Mantra and pray for knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment to rise in the similar way to greater & greater heights. Pray for blessings to live a dynamic, inspired & righteous life.
2. Do tarpan for your ancestors. Offer water to the ancestors while praying for their blessings. Resolve to redeem the pledges & pride of your forefathers. Live life in such a way that wherever your forefathers may be their head is held high by the life & deeds of their children.
3. Have a special session of Meditation, wherein you bring about the awareness of the self-effulgent subjective divinity. Affirm the greatest importance of your spiritual goal very clearly, and pray to God to bless you with the capacity to constantly revel in your true self. May the graph of your rise like the Uttarayana Sun. May there be greater ‘Love & Light’ in your life & the world.
4. Prepare laddus or other sweets of Til & Gur and offer them to your friends & relatives. See to it that your “Well-being Prayer for all” gets manifested in action & deeds.
5. Have the lunch of Khichiri. This stands for inculcating simplicity in your life & habits.
6. Give some Daan (charity) on this day to someone who truly deserves.7. Visit your son at his place and give presents to the son and the daughter-in-law. If it is not possible to visit, then organize to send presents to them to express your love & affection to them. Work to properly cultivate the generation, which has to carry forward all the best you cherish & value*.
Reading articles like this sometimes makes me pause & think about how much we have all lost on the original significance of our fesitvals. Instead, we spend more time thinking about what clothes to wear & what food to devour!
I hope to be wiser in the coming year. Hope you do too :)