The stage is all set for the most auspicious festival Makar Mela or Makar Sankranti, another important festival in Odisha. The harvest festival is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur in Odisha like it is celebrated in other states of the country though with different names, rituals, and customs.
It is called Pousha Sankranti in West Bengal, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Uttarayan in Gujarat, and Lohri in Punjab. From flying kites to relishing delicious delicacies, Makar Sankranti is a day filled with fun activities and eating traditional foods.
With just one day left for the grand festival, the holiday travel rush has begun with bus stands, railway stations, and airports starting to fill up with people heading to their homes to celebrate Makar Sankranti with their friends and family.
In Odisha, Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great enthusiasm majorly in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts. Migrant workers, job holders, and others from other parts of the country are seen leaving Odisha to reach Kolkata and other states to be with their families.
Similarly, thousands of Odias living outside the state are also coming back home for the festival. Even students studying in residential institutes are heading home for the festival. Bus stands, railway stations, and airports are filled with people wanting to reach their homes as early as possible and spend the day with their loved ones.
“On Makar Sankranti, all the family members assemble and relish cakes and sweets. So, I’m heading home now. Village will always be close to our hearts,” said Deepak, a resident of Balasore.
Similarly, a Mayurbhanj resident Sudam Marandi said, “Makar is the biggest festival for the tribals in Mayurbhanj. It comes annually once a year, so we celebrate it with great enthusiasm. It is incomplete without family gatherings, hand-made sweets, and cakes.”
“I’m heading home to be with my family on Makar Sankranti. It comes annually once a year and I can’t give it a miss. So, I have traveled all the way from my institution to be with my family in Balasore. I’m taking sweets and new clothes for my family members,” a student said.
The unique festival also draws a huge number of tourists from other states who come to Balasore and Mayurbhanj to enjoy the festivities of Makar Sankranti in Odisha.
“I have come here to enjoy the Makar Sankranti and witness how grandly it is celebrated in Odisha. It is a great festival and I’m excited for the festival tomorrow,” a tourist stated.
(Reported by Chandrakant Jena, OTV)