Festivals of Lohri and Makar Sankranti: Significance, Celebration, and Differences

Festival Description Relation to Sankranti Significance Celebration Difference from Makar Sankranti
Lohri Lohri is a popular winter folk festival celebrated primarily by Sikhs and Hindus from the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. The festival marks the end of winter and is traditionally observed on the 13th of January. Lohri is celebrated a day before Makar Sankranti and is related to the solar cycle, whereas Sankranti is related to the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makara in Sanskrit). Lohri signifies the harvesting of the Rabi crops. The festival is associated with the harvest of winter crops and is a way of showing gratitude to the natural elements, especially fire and sun, for their blessings on the crops. Celebrations include lighting a bonfire, singing and dancing around it, and sharing festive foods like gajak, sarson da saag with makki di roti, and puffed rice. People throw sesame seeds, jaggery, and rewaris into the fire, symbolizing letting go of the past and welcoming the future. While Lohri is more regionally focused in Punjab and has a more cultural significance with a focus on the harvest of winter crops, Makar Sankranti is celebrated across India with various names and rituals and is more religious in nature, marking the transition of the sun into Makara rashi (Capricorn).
Makar Sankranti Makar Sankranti is a pan-Indian solar festival known by various names in different parts of the country. It is observed each year in January and marks the first day of the sun's transit into Makara (Capricorn), signaling the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days. Makar Sankranti is celebrated the day after Lohri and is related to the astrological phenomenon of the sun entering the sign of Capricorn. The festival is significant as it is a celebration of the sun god Surya, and it marks the beginning of an auspicious phase and the end of an inauspicious period. It is a harvest festival that celebrates the new harvest season and is a symbol of transformation and new beginnings. Makar Sankranti is celebrated by taking holy dips in rivers, flying kites, and distributing sweets made of sesame seeds and jaggery. The festival is known by various names such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Magh Bihu in Assam, and Uttarayan in Gujarat. Makar Sankranti is celebrated more widely across India and has different cultural manifestations, whereas Lohri is predominantly a Punjabi festival. Sankranti is more about the sun's transition and is marked by kite flying and holy dips, while Lohri is centered around the bonfire and harvest celebration.

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Modern art card showing spirit of Sankranti