Makar Sankranti is a festival that is celebrated all over the country. Sharing here, the Lohri/Maghi traditions of Punjab. Please share the traditions of your own culture. It will be great to have a compendium.
1. Til Mooli
In the morning, before we eat anything else, every member of the family takes a small piece of radish, and a pinch of black sesame seeds. They sit with another member of the family (usually someone older) and take 5 resolutions for the coming year. These are the things they value in life. The person sitting with them confirms each resolution verbally. It is a very beautiful exchange. Usually, they go something like:
Til mooli chakhaan? (Should i taste this Til mooli?)
Response: Chakho ji. (Please do)
Ghar Parivar rakhaan? (May i value my family this year)
Response: Rakho Ji. (Please do)
Vyapaar Maan Rakhan? (May i value my trade and my prestigs?)
Response: Rakho ji.
Deh Rogta Rakhaan? (Wellness)
Yaar Dost Rakhaan? (My friendships)
I love the Til Mooli tradition. It forces us to focus on the 5 things that matter most in life, and provide a verbal affirmation to value them in the year.
2. Mai De Lohri
Small batches of girls and boys go from house to house, singing traditional Lohri songs and collecting goodies from every household. This is the Indian Trick or Treat. There is a song for girls and one for boys.
You can get them here: http://www.lohrifestival.org/lohri-songs.html
3. The Bonfire
Perhaps the best known tradition of Lohri is the bon fire. At this time, the Rabi crop is either just harvested, or near there. People take this corn, rabri, gajak, peanuts and other winter goodies. They light a bon fire and circle it (almos always,this is a community bon fire, around which there is much singing and dancing and fun). Once you have circumambulated the fire, your Lohri basket becomes "prasad" and you must share it with the other families, also partaking of theirs.
4. The song and dance
5. The "Bai Khichdi"
On the night of Lohri, the family makes chana dal khichdi and keeps it overnight. The next morning, the whole family eats only bai khichdi. That old khichdi is symbolic of everything that the previous year stood for. With that breakfast, we bid adieu to every resentment and happiness of the previous year. With that breakfast, our association with the previous year is over.
6. The "First Lohri"
The first Lohri of a couple, or of a newborn, is considered very special. There is much celebration, and people travel to be with their families for the First Lohri of a special arrival in the family.