Why do we wear black clothes on Makar Sankranti

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By: Manmeet Kaur

Makar Sankranti is celebrated as the harvest festival of India. It is celebrated to pray for a successful harvest season, in various parts of the country. You will see the sky filled with colorful kites and Indians prepare sumptuous food to celebrate a day of happiness. As per the Hindu culture and generally in all the religions across the country it is considered very inauspicious to wear Black color on a happy day. New Brides strictly avoid wearing black outfits for almost a year after their marriage.

But this festival is a bit different. While the happiness and the auspiciousness remains the same but it is considered a good omen to wear black apparel on this day. Although like many of our customs, this custom has also vanished but it is the time of the year when Maharashtrian women wear ‘Chandrakala’ sari- a very beautiful pattern of the traditional black sari.

Also the new brides are gifted the nine-yard Irkal sari as a tradition to make her first Makar Sankranti special. These saris have patterns of stars and moons along with the design of halwa (sweet) in Kasuri embroidery. It is considered a positive ritual that has been followed for years. After performing the prayers the newlywed bride is gifted the sari.

Another reason why it is considered good to wear black because it is the day when the sun begins to move northwards and so it is the end of winter and the start of spring. Since it is the last day of winter, it is the coolest day of the whole season.  The black color helps to retain the warmth of the sun and thus keep us warm.

The ritual of wearing black is not followed in all the parts of the country. It is a tradition that is followed only in Maharashtra. In other parts of the country people wear colorful clothes and pray for a new beginning.

Several stores and designers in Maharashtra also launch their new and exclusive line of black collection around Makar Sankranti that are designed in traditional patterns and designs. These collections are based entirely on the traditional weaving patterns that have been followed for years with a little touch of modern techniques.

On the other hand Punjabis wear all colors and dress in Patiala suits and Gujarati’s wear Bandhani saris to add colors to the festival.