The PM has greeted people across the nation on the occasion of harvest festivals Makar Sankranti, Uttarayan, Bhogi, Magh Bihu and Pongal.
- The festivals celebrate the hard work and enterprise of millions of farmers across the country.
- Makar Sankranti denotes the entry of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn) as it travels on its celestial path.
- The day marks the onset of summer and the six months auspicious period for Hindus known as Uttarayan – the northward movement of the sun.
- As a part of the official celebration of ‘Uttarayan’, the Gujarat government has been hosting the International Kite Festival since 1989.
- The festivities associated with the day is known by different names in different parts of the country:
- Lohri by north Indian Hindus and Sikhs,
- Sukarat in central India,
- Bhogali Bihu by Assamese Hindus, and
- Pongal by Tamil and other South Indian Hindus.
- It is celebrated when the annual harvest takes place in Assam. People celebrate Rongali/Magh Bihu to mark the beginning of the Assamese new year.
- It is believed that the festival started from the time when people of the valley started tilling the land. Bihu is believed to be as old as river Brahmaputra.
- The word Pongal means ‘overflow’ or ‘boiling over’.
- Also known as Thai Pongal, the four-day occasion is observed in the month of Thai, when crops such as rice are harvested and people show their gratitude to the almighty and the generosity of the land.
- Tamilians celebrate the occasion by making traditional designs known as kolams in their homes with rice powder.