One of the biggest festivals of our country, the Sankranti festival is celebrated at the beginning of the year. A transitional time of the year, Sankranti is the worship of the Sun and Uttarayana is given greater significance as it is the day of the beginning of the Dakshinas.
It heralds a change in season, as from this day the Sun begins its movement from Dakshinayana (South) to Uttarayana (North) hemisphere, marking the official end of Winters. Both a religious occasion and a seasonal observance, the occasion also marks the sun’s transit into Makar Raashi.
The festival of Sankranti, which is usually celebrated during the harvest season, falls in the Indian season of ‘Pushyamasa’. Uttarayana is also known as Punyakala (the season of the gods). In most areas of North Karnataka, Sankranti is celebrated in rivers and fields, mainly in agricultural-based families. Since this is the time when the crops come together, everyone chooses their own land. It is a tradition in farming families to go to fields and fairs by bullock cart.
For the festival of Sankranti, people in North Karnataka prepare Jawari Roti, Sajju Roti, Karchikai, Holige, shenga Holige, Huggie, Mullagai Palye (Badnekai), Kalu Palye. In addition, bullocks are decorated with different colours, tied to their legs and necks and ride in bullock carts to the fields.
It is known as Lohri in Haryana, Uttarayana or Khichdi in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Uttara Sankranti in West Bengal, Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka, Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Bihu in Assam.