Makar Sankranti is an important festival of the Hindus. Read about the significance of Makar Sankranti, the traditions and rituals of this festival. Find out why it is celebrated? the traditional recipes, the crafts to keep kids involved and informed in a fun way.
Check out our Sankranti Popup Kite Card Video Tutorial
Celebrating Sankranti with Kids – Crafts, Customs & Recipe Ideas to make
Why do we celebrate Sankranti? How do you explain Sankranti to children?
This is the day when the Sun transitions from winter to Spring. In Northern India too, Lohri is celebrated with great pomp. The day before Sankranti is called Bhogi and this is when people discard old stuff and habits and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. Now isn’t that a fab way to start the year?
When is Sankranti in 2023?
Sankranti falls on 15th January 2023.
What is the importance of Sankranti?
Why is it called Makar Sankranti?
On Makar Sankranti, the Sun enters the sun sign of Capricorn or Makara (the Indian rashi). Therefore the ‘Makar’ in the name. The word ‘Sankranti’ signifies the movement of the sun from one zodiac sign to another. Thus, the name of the festival literally means the movement of the sun into Capricorn.
Celebrating Sankranti with Kids – Sankranti Customs
Makar Sankranti is also the only Indian festival based on the solar calendar, which is why the date remains the same according to the Gregorian calendar every year – usually the 14th or 15th of January. Makar Sankranti is known by different names in different parts of India, some of which are:
- Lohri in Punjab
- Kicheri in Uttar Pradesh
- Magha Saaji in Himachal Pradesh
- Uttarayan in Gujarat
- Poush Sankranti in Bengal
- Bihu in Assam
- Pedda Panduga in Andhra Pradesh/Telangana
- Pongal in Tamil Nadu
Lohri is a popular folk festival of Punjab, celebrated primarily by Sikhs and many Hindus as well. The festival marks the end of the winter season and a celebration of the new harvest. Here are some ideas to celebrate Lohri with kids
- Plant your own harvest. Make your child plant some seeds and watch them get in a real feel of this festival.
- Let kids make their own mini bonfires with tea light candles. Involve their friends as well for an added pep to the fest.
- Call over kids over a Popcorn party. We have a fabulous Caramel popcorn Recipe that’s perfect for Lohri. Do not forget to visit the Gurudwara and do take kids along. Kids learn so much by doing, have them participate in Lohri celebrations.
- I love this post by Nisha from Love laugh mirchi – How To Celebrate Lohri With Kids
Pongal is a four-day-long harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu when crops like rice, sugarcane, turmeric, etc. … The term ‘Pongal’ in Tamil means “to boil”, and this festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving ceremony for the year’s harvest. To mark the festival, the Pongal sweet dish is prepared, first offered to the gods and goddesses (goddess Pongal), followed sometimes with an offering to cows, and then shared by the family. Festive celebrations include decorating cows and their horns, ritual bathing, and processions.
Special dishes made during Pongal include “Sarkarai Pongal”, “Ven Pongal”, Dosai and Sambhar, Vadai, and Payasam (kheer).
Elaborate rangolis made with rice powder adorn every doorstep.
At dawn, people light a bonfire called Bhogi. In my childhood, we would watch as street corners turned into mini bonfires.
Sankranti Bor Nahan,
Among all these traditions, the people of Maharashtra wear black on Sankranti. Though black is considered inauspicious by Hindu ideologies it is kind of customary to wear black on this day. … There is a scientific reason people wear black since the color absorbs the cold and keeps the body warm from within. At home, Newly married couples & little kids under age 5 are dressed in a new black dress and decorated with sugar ornaments.
Here is a pic of lil p’s Sankranti attire.
A black & orange lehenga with sugar ball ornaments – They are actually edible! .. Bracelets, armbands, necklace, mukut, and crowns. They typically dress up as Lord Krishna
We had a bornahan function for Lil P and all her friends when she was younger .. I had ordered the sugar ornaments from Pune .. about 10 sets. and we showered the little ones with “ber” , sugar candies , murmure (puffed rice) and sugar cane pieces.. This is supposed to bring good luck & health to them .. the black is to ward off all evil. It was a fun event at home.
Now Sankranti also meant going from house to house and sharing Til (sesame seed) laddoos , and tilgul.. a combination of sugar, jaggery & til .. and saying Til Gul ghya god god bola .. and yellu bella togondu yellu bella haage iru.. roughly translated it meant,-Take this sweet offering of mine and hope you stay as sweet as ever.. Sankranti marked the transition from cold winters to happy spring.. so eating til increased the body heat..
Like every festive celebration, it is a time when mouth-watering traditional delicacies are lined up. Each state has its own special dishes, but what is common all over the country is Sesame or til – this aromatic seed is used to prepare a number of delicacies, mostly sweets.
Til or sesame is the harvest of the season and is eaten a lot during this time. Til laddoos are a traditional sweet delicacy that almost every Indian household prepares. The famous Maharashtrian saying – “til gud ghya, aani godh godh bola” – translates as – eat sesame-jaggery ladoos and speak sweet words. Get the recipe here.
Bengalis make Paatishaapta, a sweet crepe or pancake that’s stuffed with a mix of khoya, coconut, and date palm jaggery. Get the recipe here.
Rewari is a hard candy-like sweet made with sesame that’s coated with sugar. It is a popular dish in Punjab eaten during the time of Makar Sankranti. Find the recipe here.
Sankranti Special Spread By Sailu’s kitchen..
Why do we fly kites on Makar Sankranti?
From the morning of Makar Sankranti, colorful kites can be seen wafting in the sky and this continues throughout Uttarayan.
Of course, the symbolism of kites flying up to the heavens during Makar Sankranti and Uttarayan could be deeper. Many consider flying kites high up into the sky as a form of thanksgiving to the gods. It is also considered as a signal for their awakening as it is generally believed the gods have been taking rest and sleeping for the last six months, and now it’s time to wake up. The clear, blue sky during Makar Sankranti and Uttarayan also presents an ideal scenario to fly kites.
Over the years, the tradition of flying kites has been taken very seriously. In places like Gujarat, flying kites and competing with others is regarded as one of its biggest festivals, the annual International Kite Festival (Uttarayan), the preparations for which begin months in advance.
Books about Kites for Makar Sankranti
In the days leading up to the festival, spend some time getting into the spirit with these lovely books about kites. Most of them are heartwarming tales based on simple people and teach some life lessons while being entertaining at the same time!
Sankranti Crafts & Activities to do with kids
Here are some awesome Kite crafts For you to try out with your kids.. Click on the image to take you to our post
Here are some more crafts to make with your kids
We made paper kites last year that was a BIG hit! and the kids loved it. This year we decided to make our kites and eat them too! Yum Yum! Miss P can’t stop giggling about it. These edible kites are really easy to make and lots of fun for the kids to eat on Sankranti along with all the traditional sweets and its ready in 5 min
If for some reason, you can’t fly your kite outside, you can still have your very own kite celebration at home! And to this end, we have an all-new craft for you – a DIY Kite Mobile! This is a super-easy craft that young kids can do on their own,
This decoration at home was done by a very talented person Chithra’s Creativity. It depicts a village house, its backyard trees, the new pot in which Pongal is cooked, also the lady of the house.
Sankranti Card Ideas
Make this DIY Popup Kite Card for Sankranti – a festival that’s incomplete without kites! This bright and colorful card requires just craft paper & cardstock.
Make a handmade greeting card this Sankranti, a one-of-its-kind Quilled Sankranti Greeting Card! Our project today features a cute little birdie holding in its beak the best part of Sankranti – a kite!
Sankranti Rangoli / Muggulu
Indian rangoli is a unique artwork that is practiced throughout India. All houses are adorned with these beautiful rangoli designs, rangoli kolams during Pongal & Sankranti. Here are a few designs to try
I love this simple kite design put by Arthi outside her home – Isn’t that a cute project for you to make with your kids?
We have many tutorials on how to put a rangoli under 2 minutes. Check out our post on Sankranti Rangoli Ideas
Here’s a simple Sankranti special video on how to put rangoli
How are you celebrating Sankranti.. what special customs do you follow? What food did you make special for Sankranti.. Leave your comments/post links 🙂