New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee has greeted the people ahead of the Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal – three festivals which will be celebrated across the country starting Friday.
Lohri would be celebrated on Friday and Makar Sankranti and Pongal on Saturday. “On the joyous occasion of Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal, I convey warm greetings and best wishes to all fellow citizens in India and abroad,” an official release quoted him as saying.
“Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal are expressions of joy and prosperity ushered in by a fresh harvest,” President Mukherjee said.
“May the celebrations of these festivals bind all sections of our society together with the spirit of love, compassion and joy. May these festivals which celebrate the hard work of our farmers and offer gratitude to Mother Nature bring happiness, peace and prosperity in every one’s life,” the President added.
Lohri, which started as a harvest-centric festival of Punjab, is celebrated across north India with the traditional bonfires and particular cuisine. The night of Lohri is considered the longest night of the year.
Traditionally, people walk around the fire, make offerings to gods throwing in food like gajak, chikki, puffed rice, popcorn, rewri, sesame seeds, jaggery, peanuts and celebrate the evening with music and bhangra. The feast includes winter delicacies like til ki barfi, gur ki roti, makhane ki kheer along with the well-loved makke di roti and sarson di saag.
The day after is Makar Sankranti – when the Sun is said to move into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn). The festival is dedicated to Sun and also marks the beginning of longer days.
Pongal is the four-day harvest festival as well as a religious holiday in Tamil Nadu.