Are Lohri, Makarsankranti and Pongal the same Indian Festival?

It is the time the days are on the coldest and when first harvest of the year is done in most of the parts of India where the food grains are worshiped in different ways. Are the festivals of Lohri, Makarsankranti and Pongal basically the same? Celebrated on the January 13th and 14th respectively and for the same reason, different states of India celebrate these auspicious day in different ways. Rejoicing in the fruits of harvest.

How can you tell who is celebrating which one? Make sure to save this so you can reference back to it later.

Well, firstly different people call it by different names.

Lohri in Punjab

Celebrated by Punjabi Indians on the 13th of January, this day is marked by a bon fire, colorful clothes music and dancing. Popcorn, sesame, chikki are enjoyed.

You can find out more about this festival by reading the complete celebration here.

Makar Sankranthi 

Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14 January every year.This particular festival is celebrated by many more states, in different ways. This day is marked differently by the element of traditional prayers and kite flying.

Delhi and Haryana – Churma of ghee, halwa and kheer are cooked specially on this day. One brother of every married woman visits her home with a gift of some warm clothing for her and her husband’s family. It is called “Sidha”. Women used to give a gift to their in-laws, and this rituals called “Manana”. The recipient will sit in a haweli (main palace where men sit together and share hookka). Women go to haweli to sing folk songs and give gifts.

Rajasthan and West Madhya Pradesh

“Makar Sankrati” or “Sankrat” in the Rajasthani language is one of the major festivals in the state of Rajasthan. The day is celebrated with special Rajasthani delicacies and sweets such as pheeni (either with sweet milk or sugar syrup dipped), til-paati, gajak, kheer, ghevar, pakodi, puwa, and til-laddoo.

Specially, the women of this region wear black as it absorbs heat the most and observe a ritual in which they give any type of object (related to household, make-up or food) to 13 married women. The first Sankranti experienced by a married woman is of significance as she is invited by her parents and brothers to their houses with her husband for a big feast. People invite friends and relatives (specially their sisters and daughters) to their home for special festival meals (called as “Sankrant Bhoj”). People give out many kind of small gifts such as til-gud (jaggery), fruits, dry khichadi, etc. to Brahmins or the needy ones.

Kite flying is traditionally observed as a part of this festival.On this occasion the sky in Jaipur and Hadoti regions is filled with kites, and youngsters engage in contests trying to cut each other’s strings.


Celebrated in Tamil Nadu, this is a grand festival of four days. Day 1 marks Bhogi Pandigai, Day 2 is Thai Pongal, Day 3 Maattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal is celebrated on day 4. The festival is celebrated four days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai.

Here is a detailed description of the four days of celebration.


Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand

This same festival is known as Kicheri in Uttar Pradesh and involves ritual bathing. There is a compulsion to bathe in the morning while fasting; first they bathe then they eat sweets such as til ladoo and gud laddo (known as tillava in Bhojpuri). At some places new clothes are worn on this day. It is said that if you do not bath on this day, you will fall upon bad luck the rest of the year. Khichi is prepared.  Kite flying  and (sesame seeds) and gud (jaggery) are found in the songs sung on this day.

West Bengal

In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known Poush Parbon (It falls on 14 January on the Western calendar.) All sections of society participate in a three-day begins on the day before Sankranti and ends on the day after. The freshly harvested paddy and the date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur and Patali is used in the preparation of a variety of traditional Bengali sweets made with rice flour, coconut, milk and ‘khejurer gur’ (date palm jaggery) and known as ‘Pitha’ . The Goddess Lakshmi is usually worshipped on the day of Sankranti.

So you see, even though celebrated for the reason, the colorful states of India each celebrate this day in numerous different ways and on different days. Observing the celebrations is a great indicator of the heritage of a person and what part of India they belong to.

Did you know this about these festivals? Do you know any more differences? Feel free to share the same below


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