The New Year has just begun and most households are already gearing up for the first big festival – Makara Sankranti. This festival is celebrated in various parts of the country and has profound significance. Makara Sankranti, also known as Kite festival, Pongal and Lohri, is a harvest festival of new beginnings and prosperity marking the transition of the Sun into Makara Rashi.
It is considered auspicious to begin the year performing the pooja and celebrating this festival. Read on to find out how to prepare your home and celebrate the Makara Sankranti festival.
1. Clean your home: The whole house should be cleaned thoroughly before performing the Makara Sankranti festival pooja at home. It is important to keep the place of worship spick-and-span at all times.
2. Add fragrance: Once the pooja room is cleaned, add fragrance to your home by burning sandalwood incense sticks and sprinkling gangajal throughout the house. Doing this will cleanse your home and prepare it for the Sankranti pooja.
3. Oil Bath: Taking oil bath early in the morning on this day signifies purity and it is considered very auspicious.
4. Decoration: Decorating the house is another important aspect of this festival. The house entrance is beautifully decorated with rangoli, the front door is adorned with Thoranam , mango leaves and flowers, the pooja room is decked with marigold flowers and incense sticks are lit up in every corner of the house.
5. Arrangement: Once the house is decorated, you can start preparing the pooja room for the festival. Place the idols of your house God and decorate the deity with flowers, garlands, sandalwood paste, kum kum and turmeric power. Along with the idol, place a photo of Lord Surya in the room.
6. Perform Pooja: This pooja should be performed after sunrise. Light the lamp, offer akshathe, break the coconut and place in front of the deity. Prepare Ellu Bella(Check below for the procedure for making ellu bella) and worship the God by chanting Gayathri mantra.
7. Fly a kite!: Makara Sankrati is marked by flying kites in the sky. You can either fly the kite from your house terrace or take part in the kite flying competition that is held in most cities.
These are some of the things to remember while performing the Makara Sankranti Pooja at home. Here is the procedure to make ellu bella mixture:
All you need is:

3 cups roasted peanuts

1 diced dry coconut

1-1/4 cup small diced jaggery

1-1/2 cups roasted white sesame seeds
Toss them all together and Ellu-Bella is ready! Wish you a very happy Makara Saankranti!

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