I am from North India. I live in Banglore right now. Uttarayan is a famous festival in North India. Do people from Karnataka celebrate this festival?
Yes. They do celebrate the festival Uttarayan but the name is different. In fact, this festival is celebrated all over India but the names are different according to the language spoken at that place and customs at that place. Also the way of celebration slightly differ from state to state.
In Gujarat, it is called uttarayana. In Karnataka, it is called Suggi Habba, Makara Samkranthi, Makara Sankramana.
Why is the festival celebrated ?
This festival marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara(capricorn). From that day onwards, auspicious uttarayana period begins. So, the worship of the Sun god is common in many states.
This is also a harvest festival. As a gratitude towards Sun god, they worship him on these days. They also decorate the cattle which has helped them during farming. Competitions involving cattle(in southern part of India), animals, roosters(in Andhra Pradesh) are held. Dishes made with jaggery and sesame seeds are made and distributed among friends, relatives.
Names of the festival in different places:
Suggi Habba, Makara Sankramana, Makara Sankranthi: Karnataka
Makar Sankranti: Chhattisgarh, Goa, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Jammu
Thai Pongal, Uzhavar Thirunal: Tamil Nadu
Maghi: Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu: Assam
Shishur Saenkraat: Kashmir Valley
Khichdi: Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar
Poush Sangkranti: West Bengal
Tila Sakrait: Mithila
This is also celebrated in countries where is Hindu population.
- Poush Sangkranthi/ Shakrain : Bangladesh
- Nepal : Maghe Sankranti or Maghi- /Khichdi Sankranti
In many states, it is celebrated for four days in which different rituals are followed on different days.
For more information on similarities and differences in different regions of the country, See this article.