#Sankranti marks the beginning of a new month and a new house of astrology. Though there are 12 in a year, the most popular one is #MakarSankranti. Probably because it brings about a major shift in our lives.
This is the time we spring into the happiness of a newness, leaving the solace of winter behind.
As the sun starts its course from #dakshinayan (southern hemisphere) to #uttarayan (the northern hemisphere), the nature uplifts our mood setting it right for the longer days ahead. Days that are not just longer but enriched with sunlight and blossomed with the hope of new.
A festival celebrated to mark the advent of a new season also calls for re-strengthening our old and existing bonds by saying; til gur ghya god-god bola (eat sweet and speak sweet). This popular Maharashtrian phrase etched ages back seem totally relevant today; a world where we are mostly occupied establishing newer and higher relationships, left with hardly any space to cement the old.
As the two extreme seasons (winter and summer) exchange greetings, there is spring to balance this shift. Isn’t this indicative of the law that leaving old relationships to make space for new is not natural? The beauty lies in keeping the old ones nurtured as we spring happiness into the newer ones and get ready to blossom with them.
Makar Sankranti in #Maharashtra, #Lohri in Punjab and northern India, Uttarayan in Gujarat, #Pongal and Makaravilakku in South India; all call for celebrating a spirit that’s essentially the same. The spirit to connect and reconcile with the human community around. And the spirit to connect with the nature at large.
Til (sesame seeds) and gur (jaggery) are the base of all the food items prepared during this festival. Though the climatic cycle seems to have shifted in today’s season, mid-January still witnesses the ideal temperature for consumption of calcium and Vitamin D. This made til (sesame seeds) the most popularly consumed food item during Sankranti as it is enriched with calcium. It is said to contain calcium higher than even our daily glass of milk. But yes, we cannot consume sesame as often as we do milk because it generates heat in the body.
Vitamin D consumption is guaranteed when we spend time outdoors under direct sun. A few days of kite flying under the sun can let our body absorb as much Vitamin D as is required to last until the next year.
Connecting back with our traditional Indian food and relishing it is also a way of connecting back with nature. The nature around us invites consumption of the food-of-the-season. And relishing it is the easiest way to bond with the nature that is the base of our existence. As we bounce back to these age-old recipes and culture, we also get a chance to re-connect with our age-old bonds that form the foundation of our very personality.
Earlier every maidan (a large open ground) and chhatt (a building top) used to be a kite flying venue with tones of co-players around.
But today’s save-the-date generation has to browse through venues designated by the Government for flying the kite in an over-urbanized India.
Though we may not be able to indulge outdoors as much to consume Vitamin D today but as long as we keep the spirit of these festivals alive, the essence shall be retained.
Like it is said, all is well as long as we keep the spirit of being real alive and not live it up on #WhatsApp alone. In an era where fitness trends come and go every week, living up to the spirit of age-old traditions and advocating & inspiring the Gen Z to believe in them is indeed the real celebration of Sankranti.