India is called the land of festivals and rightly so. No matter what month of the year it is, there is an auspicious day or festival just round the corner. We are well into January now and it is almost time for the first major festival of the year. Makar Sankranti 2018 will be celebrated all across India in various forms on January 14. The day of Makar Sanranti is when the sun transits from Dhanu rashi (Sagittarius) to Makara rashi (Capricorn). It is one of the few Hindu festivals which follow the solar cycle as compared to the lunar cycle followed for other events. Northern parts of India celebrate it as the harvest festival to mark the end of the harvesting season.
Makar Sankranti celebration in Jaipur is marked mainly by the amazing International Kite Festival which is held here on January 14 every year. On this day, the sky in Jaipur is full of colourful, decorative, uniquely designed kites. IKF aside, even the locals take kite flying very seriously. The rooftops are full of enthusiasts who indulge in local competitions and do their best to cut off each other’s strings. All across Rajasthan, people prepare local delicacies like pheeni, kheer, ghevar and til-laddoo.
Married women, especially those who are newly married, indulge in auspicious rituals that consist of inviting 13 married women for a feast and giving them some sort of present. In general, there are several feasts held in Rajasthan on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. In many parts, the day is characterized by fairs (melas) and cultural events full of singing and dancing. However, the kite festival in Jaipur is by far the best of the lot!