Poush Sankranti-A Traditional Festival of Bengali Culture

Poush Sankranti or Makar Sankranti is a special festival of Bengali culture.  This festival is celebrated on the last day of the Bengali month of Poush in Bangladesh as well as West Bengal. On this day, different types of ceremonies are held in different places centering on this festival.  One of them is eating pitha and flying kites.  After flying kites all day, the festival ends in the evening by blowing fireworks or lanterns.  This festival is also known as Pithe-Puli festival.

According to Indian astrology, ‘Sankranti’ is a Sanskrit word, meaning to move from one sign of the Sun to another.  The word ‘Makar’ (Capricorn) refers to the entry of the Sun into Capricorn from its own orbit.
According to the 12 signs, there are a total of 12 such constellations.  This year the traditional festival will be celebrated on Thursday, January 14, 2021.

[To read the myth associated with Makar Sankranti, visit-https://hindutempletalk.com/2020/01/24/significance-of-makar-sankranti/]

In Bangladesh and West Bengal, the festival of new crops ‘Poush Parvan’ is celebrated mainly on Makar Sankranti or Poush Sankranti.  A variety of traditional pithas are made with fresh paddy, date molasses and patali, which require rice powder, coconut, milk and date molasses.  Makar Sankranti is known in Indian culture as the ‘beginning of Uttarayan’ in addition to the festival of new crops. It marks the end of the evil period, which, according to the calendar, begins in mid-January.  On this day, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a holy bath is held at Sagardwip in the South 24 Parganas district at the center of Kapil Muni Ashram.  Thousands of devotees and visitors from other states of India gather at this fair. In Bangladesh a very popular Makar Sankranti mela (fair) is arranged at Apra in the district of Jashore. Hundreds of devotees and tourists from home and abroad throng this fair.

Talker: Krishna Das

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