On the occasion of Makar Sankranti all around the country, the woman folk are gearing up to celebrate haldi kumkum, a ceremony which follows Makar Sankranti, the first festival to kick-start the year. This day also happens to be the only Hindu festival based on the position of the sun (the others follow the moon). More importantly, it’s the only festival which falls more or less on the same date, either 14th or 15th of January. Since this mostly applies to married women, singletons can just enjoy the day off and munch on ’til-gul’.
To celebrate this day, women also organise an event known as ‘Haldi kumkum’. It is the day during which women invite others of the same tribe to come over and apply turmeric (haldi) and vermilion (kumkum) on their foreheads, dab perfume (attar) on their forearms, sprinkle rose-water over them and offer them a sweet, a flower, a coconut and a small gift .
This ceremony is for the well-being of the applier of the haldi kumkum and the ‘appliee’. Mostly popular in the western states of India, the period of Makar Sankranti is considered favourable for spiritual practice and any gift given during this period is equivalent to offering and receiving the grace of the divine on both sides.
Especially in these days, it is best to wear black cotton. Because black has the ability to absorb heat and last longer. It helps protect against the cold. In Maharashtra, black sarees are mainly worn on Makar Sankranti day. Primarily for the newlyweds, this festival is special for the first time after marriage. These days, both are adorned with plow ornaments. Mangalsutra, naths, chinchpatti, bangles are made from side to side from the plow. Women and men wear black clothes on Makar Sankranti Day. Seniors in the house observe newlyweds on this day. On this day, Sun enters Capricorn.
It is a social purpose for women to come together following a tradition that began last year. In view of the condition of the Eastern female class, women were not allowed to leave the house unless there was a religious cause. At present, women enthusiastically form a group of friends and establish a board through which they also invest in various programs, trips, and visas throughout the year. As a result, women who are looking to develop their own home-based careers get discreet friendships. Together, they work together on the home business and get along well. Saying ‘तिळगूळ घ्या आणि गोड गोड बोला’, all the little ones enjoy such nutritious foods.This gives the important message of bonding with relatives by exchanging thoughts and ‘Haldi kumkum’ which brings women together for religious reasons also succeeds !!
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)