In Uttar Pradesh, Sankrant is called ‘Khichiri’. Taking a dip in the holy rivers on this day is regarded as most auspicious. A big one-month long ‘Magha-Mela’ fair begins at Prayag (Allahabad) on this occasion. Apart from Triveni, ritual bathing also takes place at many places like Haridvar and Garh Mukteshwar in Uttar Pradesh, and Patna in Bihar.
In Bengal every year a very big Mela is held at Ganga Sagar where the river Ganga is believed to have dived into the region and vivified the ashes of the sixty thousand ancestors of King Bhagirath.
In Tamil Nadu Sankrant is known by the name of ‘Pongal’, which takes its name from the surging of rice boiled in a pot of milk, and this festival has more significance than even Diwali. Rice and pulses cooked together in ghee and milk is offered to the family deity after the ritual worship.
In Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated as a three-day harvest festival Pongal. It is a big event for the people of Andhra Pradesh. The whole event lasts for four days, the first day Bhogi, the second day Sankranti, the third day Kanuma and the fourth day, Mukkanuma.
In Maharashtra on the Sankranti day people exchange multi-colored tilguds made from til (sesame seeds) and sugar and til-laddus made from til and jaggery. The concept behind the exchange of tilguls is to forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends. This is a special day for the women in Maharashtra when married women are invited for a get-together called ‘Haldi-Kumkum’ and given gifts of any utensil, which the woman of the house purchases on that day.
In Gujarat, Sankrant is observed more or less in the same manner as in Maharashtra but with a difference that in Gujarat there is a custom of giving gifts to relatives. The elders in the family give gifts to the younger members of the family. This festival thus helps the maintenance of social relationships within the family, caste and community.
In Punjab where December and January are the coldest months of the year, huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankrant and which is celebrated as "LOHARI". Sweets, sugarcane and rice are thrown in the bonfires, around which friends and relatives gather together. The following day, which is Sankrant, is celebrated as MAGHI.
In Assam, the festival is celebrated as Bhogali Bihu. It is celebrated to mark the end of the winter paddy harvest. On the night before the festival, people fast and pray, and thatched pavilions are put up around the countryside. As a sign of the festival having begun, the pavilions are set on fire at dawn. Bull fights and celebrations mark the day.
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