Friday, August 31, 2007

Makar Sankrant

According to the lunar calendar, the sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn, or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Poush in mid-January.

In Maharashtra, people dress in new clothes and distribute sesame sweets. New brides are welcomed into the family with sugar ornaments and a turmeric-and-vermilion ceremony. In rural Maharashtra, feasts of the new harvest mark the festival.

This end of the winter solstice also coincides with the harvest season and cessation of the northeast monsoon in South India. The movement of the earth from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti, and is celebrated as Makar, or Uttarayana, Sankranti, or Lohri, in the North, and as Pongal in the South.

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