16    Jan 20091 comment

Indian Families Celebrate Festivals

With the start of New Year in India, the celebration times with festivals have also started. MyHeritage wishes you a very happy Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Baisakhi to all the Indian families across the world. Enjoy the festive season and connect with your families world-wide with MyHeritage.com, the world's most popular family social network.

Indian families with kitesLohri is celebrated every year on 13th of January in India. It is a festival to worship fire. The story behind the festival is that at this time, Earth starts moving towards the sun, marking the auspicious period of Uttarayan. First, Lohri is very important for newlyweds and newborn babies, as it marks fertility. In a Hindu household, new utensils are purchased and used for the first time. Families fly thousands of beautiful kites all over the skyline. In Karnataka, men, women and children attired in colorful clothes visit friends and relatives and exchange pieces of sugarcane, a mixture of fried molasses, pieces of dry coconut, peanuts and fried gram. As part of the festival, cows and bulls are given a wash and the horns are painted with bright colors and decorated with garland, and are taken in a procession in the village to the accompaniment of pipes and drums. At night, people gather around the bonfire and throw puffed rice & popcorn into the flames of the bonfire. Prayers are offered to the bonfire for abundance & prosperity. People make merry by dancing & singing traditional folk songs. The whole event lasts for four days: the first day, Bhogi, the second day, Sankranti, the third day, Kanuma and the fourth day, Mukkanuma. Now, why fire?

Lohri Lohri marks the end of winter on the last day of Paush, and the beginning of Magha (around January 12 and 13), when the sun changes its course. It is associated with the worship of the sun and fire, and is observed by all communities with different names, as Lohri is an exclusively Punjabi festival. This is because the winters are at the peak in this month in Punjabi then. So, the farmers pray to fire instead of the sun, as the sun is hard to see during the winter. People pray to fire because it is the only source through which they can provide themselves some warmth. The Lohri of north India coincides with Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Makar Sankranti in Bengal, Magha Bihu in Assam, and Tai Pongal in Kerala, all celebrated on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti. Lohri is essentially a festival dedicated to fire and the sun god. It is the time when the sun transits the zodiac sign Makar (Capricorn), and moves towards the north. Therefore, the festival is full of blessings and fun.

Put tooltip here Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti is the transition. Sankranti comes every month when the sun passes from one sign of the zodiac to the next. There are twelve signs of the zodiac, and thus there are twelve Sankranti as well. Each of these Sankranti has its own relative importance but two of these are more important - the Mesh (Aries) Sankranti and the most important, the Makar (Capricorn) Sankranti. Transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn, during the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, is known as Makar Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country in different cultural forms with great devotion. Millions of devotees dip in places like Ganga, Yamuna and pray to Lord Sun. It is celebrated in southern parts of the country as Pongal and in Punjab is celebrated as Lohri & Maghi. Gujaratis not only look reverentially up to the sun, but also fly thousands of beautiful kites all over the skyline. Makar Sankranti is the day when the Sun enters the Northern Hemisphere. Of all the cosmic bodies, the Sun is the most glorious & important, thus every sun-centric cosmic event became very important spiritual, religious & cultural event. This festival provides the blessings to all, that we may go higher & higher towards more & more light and never to darkness.

It is such a nice feeling to see the big families celebrating together and caring for each other. Myheritage wishes all Indian families across the globe a very happy festival season, and let us hopes that this season brings more joy and hapiness.

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  1. Great Blog. I love the way we Indians celebrate our festivals.

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