Winter festivities


UNLIKE other Hindu festivals that change date every year Makar Sankranti is nearly always celebrated on the 14th of January. It marks the transition of the Sun from the zodiacal sign of Sagittarius to Capricorn during the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. In Tamil Nadu, Sankranti heralds the harvest festival of Pongal. On Pongal, sticks of sugarcane are offered to the Sun god seeking happiness in life. In Karnataka, pieces of sugarcane are exchanged. This exchange is symbolic of the sweetness that they hope to have in all their dealings with each other.