Makar Sankranti commemorates the beginning of the harvest season as per the lunar calendar. It is when the sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. The month in Odia is Pousha masa or mid of January.
According to our mythology, Lord Krishna killed all Asuras or evils and buried their heads in Mandara Parvata.
In another mythical story, Lord Sun or Surya Dev visits his son Shani once in a year, and it is on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.
Who does not know about the story of King Bhagirathi and the odds he went through to bring River Ganga to the Earth for the redemption of his forefathers’ souls.
In Odisha, this day holds much importance as it is linked to the harvest festival.
The farmer’s community observes it with great pomp and show.
A traditional dish, named Makara Chaula is prepared with uncooked rice and mixed with jaggery, coconut, ghee, ripe banana, sesame seeds and chhena. It is offered to God and then consumed by all family members.
It is not just the festival of harvest but also of long lasting friendship.
You can say, it is the friendship day in Odisha. In western Odisha, when a male chooses a male friend as his best friend he is called as Maharshad.
If a female chooses a female friend, she is known as Makarathe.
The Makar Chaurashibesha of Lord Jagannath in Puri is breathtaking to watch.
The deities wear Makara Chula (a kind of headgear).
Uttarayana Bandapana and Jatra are performed in the Srimandir.
Makar mela or Makar fair is organized in almost all districts of Odisha.
Some of the popular melas are observed at Dhabaleswar, Keonjhar, Koraput, Sundergarh, Balasore, Ganjam, Mayurbhanj, etc.
Kite flying has been an integral part of Makar Sankranti.
Kite flying competitions are also organized during this time and children and adults fly kites of various shapes, colours and sizes.