Auspicious Hindu festival Makar Sankranti, also known as the festival of harvest, is being celebrated across the state of Odisha on Wednesday.
Here are some interesting facts about this unique festival that everyone must know.
The festival in Odisha is observed in the month of Magha just after harvesting of paddy crops and celebrated with religious zeal and enthusiasm.
It is celebrated by everyone, including both tribals and non-tribals of the state.
It is celebrated as Utarayana Yatra in Jagannath Temple.
The day marks the transition of the Sun into Capricorn on its celestial path and heralds the arrival of the summer season.
The festival is of immense religious and mythical significance.
People prepare a special offering called ‘Makar Chaula’, a special dish of newly harvested rice, jaggery, grated coconut, banana, molasses, chenna (cottage cheese), various fruits, dry fruits and milk.
They offer it to the presiding deity, the sun god.
Thousands of devotees gather at Konark Temple to offer their prayers on this auspicious occasion.
Lord Jagannath is adorned with Makara Chaurashi Vesha on this day.
As per the religious belief taking a holy dip in ponds, tanks, and rivers and visiting temples early morning of Makar Sankranti washes away all sins.
According to the Puranas, Sun God visited the house of his son Shani, the swami of Makar Rashi, on this day, thereby symbolizing the healthy relationship between father and son.
Kite-flying competitions are organized in several places of the state, including Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
It was on Makar Sankranti that Lord Vishnu ended the ever-increasing terror of the Asuras by finishing them off and burying their heads under the Mandara Parvata (Mountain).
This occasion therefore also represents the end of negativities and the beginning of an era of righteous living.
This festival is celebrated with great joy and fervour in tribal populated areas like Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh.
Young girls of specific communities, mostly Kudumi, Bastiti, Rajual worship ‘Tushu,’ a female deity, and immerse it in the river or tank singing songs of a unique variety.