In News: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu greeted the nation on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti and Pongal (15th January 2020).

The harvest festival signifies the beginning of Uttarayan and is dedicated to the Sun God who is regarded as a symbol of divinity and wisdom.

Harvest festivals in India

Throughout India, people celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm. It is celebrated by different names in different parts of the country. 

  • In south India, it is popularly called as “Pongal & ‘Makar Sankranti’, ‘Vishu’ in Kerala, in Punjab and Haryana it is called ‘Lohri’, in Assam, it is called ‘Bihu’ and ‘Khichdi festival’ in Bihar.
  • This festival called by different names marks the beginning of a new season with thousands of people taking holy dip in sacred rivers. 
  • It basically celebrates the bounty of nature and is symbolized by the expression of profound gratitude to nature for nourishing and sustaining life.
  • Pongal festival is associated with agriculture and harvesting of the crops. It is marked by worshipping the Sun God and decorating the bullocks, ploughs and sickles. 
  • A special puja is performed on the first day and farmers cut the newly harvested paddy with the consecrated tools.