"Til gul ghya, god god bola".
This Maharashtrian adage means: Take this Sweet Candy made of til , i.e.sesame, coated with jaggery or sugar) and talk sweetly day after day hereafter'. This is a sign of making peace and maintaining cordial relations, forgetting the past misunderstandings.with neighbours and friends in office.
This is the greeting words exchanged on the Makara Sankranti/ Sankramana with distributing til gul or til candies in Maharashtra and also Gujarat. This day falls on 14th January of every year when the Sun touches the extreme Southern Hemisphere at the Line of Capricorn, i.e. Makara Vritta in Sanskrit. This is the end of winter solstice when the Sun starts moving northwards, bringing warmer days. This Solar cycle is known as Uttaraayana in Sanskrit. This day Hindus everywhere take dips in Holy Rivers and pray Surya Bhagavan, the Sun God. The celebration of this Solar cycle is known by different names. In Punjab and other northern States it is called as 'Lohri, Sukrat in Central India, Bhogali Bihu in Assam and eastern India and Pongal in Tamil Nadu. This is the harvesting time and starting of new crop. Makara Sankramana festival is observed up to Ratha Saptami. In Northern India, people spend the previous night outside around a campfire and make offerings to the fire.
Sweetened 'til' is only a symbolic thing for harmonious living. The significance of eating sweetened til is that the 'til oil' produces heat, which in turn maintains our body heat to bear the acute cold. Eating seasonal fruits, like bugari (badarika = jujube) is a practice in Northern India while praying the Sun God for a specific period (say 21 days).
We wish our Readers a Happy Makara Sankranti for a renewed energy and hope,. As the adage goes, "Hopes are spread on withered hopes."