There is a reason for almost all communities to celebrate. From Makar Sankranti, Bhogali Bihu, Lohri, Pongal to Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, a string of festivals lined up on Tuesday will make it a day of celebration of sorts for the city.
Each of the festivals – largely celebrated to mark the harvest season in different parts of India – will be observed by different communities in traditional ways. And Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi will be celebrated to mark the birthday of Prophet Mohammed.
Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated in Maharashtra and the northern parts of India, sees families distributing chikki (a sweet delicacy made out of jaggery and sesame seeds).
Makar Sankranti is also attributed due to astral changes. It is said that the Sun enters the Makara (Capricorn) zodiac sign. Kite flying is often witnessed on this day in various parts of the city, particularly where Gujarati communities dominate the area.
“Since kite-flying has become less of a craze in the city, we fly kites only if there are a lot of people.
We normally prepare delicacies and meet our relatives and friends,” said Utpal Bhayani, a resident of Vile Parle.
Lohri is celebrated by Punjabis and Bhogali Bihu by the Assamese. In both the festivals, a bonfire is lit.
“Sikhs who live in larger numbers in places like GTB Nagar have them lit in their colonies in the night. They sing and dance around it,” said Balbir Singh of Dashmesh Darbar at GTB Nagar.
Bhogali Bihu is celebrated by families organising a feast on the eve of Makar Sankranti. “It is to celebrate a good harvest.
Several fish and mutton delicacies are cooked for the feast. On the Sankranti day, a bonfire is lit early in the morning and prayers are offered. Later, we visit relatives and friends and enjoy pitha (rice cakes made with coconut, sesame and jaggery),” said Dipen Rajkonwar, an Assamese who lives in Navi Mumbai.
Pongal is celebrated in southern India. Families prepare rice delicacies in pots. “A lot of people come to the temple in the mornings before starting the celebrations. Rice delicacies are prepared at home,” said
S Anaand, trustee of the the Asthika Samaj Guruvayoor Temple in Matunga.
While these celebrations will be held mostly in homes, the birthday of the Prophet will be celebrated across the city through rallies.
One such rally will be conducted by the All India Khilafat House Committee. In its 94th year, it was started by Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Mohammed Ali Johar. It will start from the Khilafat House, Byculla, and go to Crawford Market and come back.
“The idea of the rally is to promote communal harmony, create goodwill for community in the minds of other people and brotherhood. These will be highlighted by the saying and quotes of Prophet Mohammed,” said Sarfaraz Arzoo, trustee of the committee that organises it.