Festival – India

“During the beginning of the year or the beginning of winter, usually in January, there is festival called Makar Sankrant, it’s the first festival of the New Year. It falls on the 14th of January. It follows the Sun’s northward journey. Because its winter, you make sweets from sesame and jaggery, which is a more concentrated form of sugar. Sesame is a very warm seed, it creates heat in your system. This festival is always known as the festival of friendship. You give the sweet to your friends, or if people come to your house, you say “Tir gur gya, gode gode bola,” which means have this sweet and speak sweetly or be sweet. Typically, in Gujarat and Maharashtra they fly kites as well, during the festival. The festival is celebrated itself on January 14th but the people celebrate it even before, similar to how people are in the Christmas mood before Christmas Eve.”

It seems like this is the Indian celebration for the winter solstice, since this falls around the end of the winter solstice. Also, I feel like this isn’t a very elaborate festival since, from my mother’s description it only calls for the exchange of sweets and repeating a phrase. There are similar festivals that take place at the same time in other places in India, which are probably the same festival but just celebrated a bit differently due to regional differences. To me, it looks like the festival serves more as a time for people to get together and get into a holiday spirit.