India is well known all over the world as a country of cultural and traditional festivals. Our new year also begins with the harvest festivals which are celebrated with different names such as Lohri, Pongal, Bihu and Makar Sankranti. Each region acknowledges the gifts of nature and say thanks for a bountiful harvest. These festivals are deemed to mark the arrival of the New Year and spring and relieve people by giving a warm bid to the chilly cold winter.
When there is harvest, we celebrate the arrival of the first crop by sharing it with everybody. You are getting the benefit of all your labor and your hard work. In villages, at home, people used to get the first sugarcane, the first bag of paddy and they share it with everyone. And in this country sharing also has some knowledge & wisdom in it. Every celebration brings some wisdom with it. That’s the beauty here.
In Maharashtra, they give sesame seed and jaggery balls (laddoos). Sesame seed is the oil grain; sesame oil is the main oil that people use. Sesame, for some reason, is considered very precious. Sesame seed and jaggery are distributed to everybody and they say ‘You have this and let sweet words come out of your mouth’. This is the wish or greeting that we say. This tradition has been there for a long time.
This is also astrologically connected. Makar Sankranti is celebrated when the sun enters Makar rashi(Capricorn) which marks the end of winter. In the southern hemisphere, you must be celebrating Kark Sankraman and not Makar Sankraman. Our beginning of ‘spring’ is beginning of ‘fall’ for them and our ‘fall’ here is beginning of ‘spring’ in Australia. So, the celebrations are also linked to seasons. Makar Sankranti is celebrated when you come from harsh winter into a pleasant sunshine.Let your ego be small like sesame seeds and words sweet like jaggery. Click To Tweet
‘Til’ or the Sesame is the smallest grain. When people in India die, there is one prayer for the soul. They take Sesame seed & some water and tell them ‘be content, be content, and be content’. The children tell their parents or other deceased people ‘your desires are like this sesame seed, just drop them, the world is so big, you move on, the universe is so huge, drop your small earthly desires, we are here to fulfill them, and you become content.’ This is called ‘tarpanam’. ‘Triptiyataam, triptiyataam, triptiyataam’, three times we say ‘be content, be content, and be content’. We tell the deceased ones, that if you have any unfulfilled desires then just let go of those and move on.
We get stuck in small-small things, or anger or jealousy on somebody; we tend to hold on to something, some person or situation. If we hold on to such things then we will not be able to move forward on our journey. That is why it is said that drop all these desires and be content, be content, be content. Be like a sesame seed; very humble, small and be sweet like jaggery. “Let your ego be small like sesame seeds and words sweet like jaggery.” This is the greeting or wish you make to each other. Not only give or exchange some material thing to other but also some wisdom.
Wishing all Happy Lohri, Pongal, Bihu and Makar Sankranti!