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Why do we celebrate Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Bihu?



India has always been a land of diverse cultural identities. Every culture has its own festivals which are of great significance. A few such festivals like Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Magh Bihu are celebrated in the month of January. Each of them has its own history and significance.

Lohri is an Indian festival of great traditional significance. It is celebrated a day before Makar Sankranti, where people pray and celebrate around a bonfire. The festival is primarily celebrated in the northern parts of India with great energy and spirit. It is also known as the ‘festival of harvest’, wherein farmers celebrate singing folk songs, and mark the end of the sowing season.

Tales from Punjab mention the legend Dulla Bhatti, a hero who led a rebellion against the Mughal Empire. His acts of bravery made him so famous in Punjab that almost every Lohri song mentions his name.

Makar Sankranti also known as Maghi, is a Hindu festival, which is celebrated across India in different cultural forms, with great devotion and fervour. The festival marks the start of longer days, and is usually celebrated in the second week of January. This festival marks the end of the winter, and the start of longer days. It is known by various names in different parts of the country.

Makar Sankranti is followed by Pongal, which is a four-day-long harvest festival celebrated in India, and is associated with the tradition of crop harvesting. This festival usually falls in the month of January when crops like rice, turmeric and sugarcane are harvested. The festival is widely celebrated in Tamil Nadu. This year, Pongal will be celebrated from 14 January to 17 January.

Originated as a Dravidian harvest festival, which was celebrated as Thai Un and Thai Niradal, history of Pongal dates back to around 2000 years.

According to a legend, Lord Shiva once asked his bull, Basava, to go to the earth and ask humans to have an oil massage and bath every day and to eat once a month. Basava mistakenly announced Shiva has asked people to eat daily and have an oil massage and bath once a month. Enraged Shiva, banished Bavasa to live on earth forever. He would have to plough the fields to help people produce more food. Thus, this day is associated with cattle.

Magh Bihu is when the annual harvest takes place in Assam. People celebrate Rongali Bihu to mark the beginning of the Assamese New Year and the end of the harvest season.

Poetic गुफ्तगू – With हुमेरा खान @poetsofDelhi