Celebrating Makar Sankranti

The Sun is considered one of the most important deities in Hinduism.  According to Vedic Astrology, the Sun moves through the 12 signs of the zodiac and this is known as Sankranti. When the Sun moves into the zodiac sign of Makar (Capricorn), it is known as Makar Sankranti and is one of the most auspicious Sankrantis along with Mesha (Aries) Sankranti.

Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun from Sagittarius (Dhanu) in the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makar). Although, the Sun does not actually move, it is the relative motion of the Sun with respect to the earth that results in the illusion that the Sun is moving. There is an interesting tale on how the Sun goes to meet his son Shani on this day. According to Hindu mythology, Shani (Saturn), the ruler of Makar (Capricorn) is the son of Surya (Sun) and although they do not have cordial relations, Surya always pays a visit to his son on this day. Thus, this day reinstates the value of the bond between a father and a son.

Myths and Legends behind Makar Sankranti

It is believed that Makar Sankranti is the day when the Gods awaken from their sleep and the period of Uttarayana begins. Uttarayana and Dakshinayana refer to the periods when the Sun heads north and south respectively. They are also believed to be the time when the Gods awaken or their "day" begins (Uttarayana) and the time when the Gods sleep or their "day" ends (Dakshinayana). Thus, Uttarayana is believed to be an auspicious period for beginning anything important.

There are many myths revolving around Makar Sakranti. It is believed that on this day, Lord Vishnu defeated the Asuras and buried them under the Mandara Parvata, bringing an end to the evil forces and ushering a period of happiness and prosperity.

According to another legend, King Bhageeratha brought down Ganga and performed Tarpana, to provide salvation to his ancestors who were cursed and turned into ashes.

In Sikhism, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Maghi to pay homage to the forty Sikhs who sacrificed their lives to save Guru Gobind Singh when the Britishers came in search for the Guru. Mela Maghi, an annual gathering of people in Sri Muktsar Sahib is organized to honour the martyrs.

Celebrations across India

Makar Sankranti is celebrated across India. In Punjab and the adjoining areas, a day before Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Lohri. A bonfire is lit and people dance and make merry.

It is known as Khichdi or Sankrant in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. People take a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges and celebrate the day by flying kites and distributing sweets and laddoos made from til or sesame seeds.

In Assam, Makar Sankranti is known as Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu. Tekeli Bhonga, a ritual that involves breaking pots, and Buffalo fighting are key features of the celebration. Huts made from bamboo, known as Meji are built. These huts are burned the next day. Special feasts are also prepared during the festival.

It is known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu. The festivities begin on January 13 and go on till the 16th of January. People thank the Sun God for the good harvest. Houses and offices are decorated with banana and Mango leaves. Kolams, designs drawn using rice flour are drawn during the festival. Another key feature of the festival is the preparation of Pongal, a dish made from rice, milk, jaggery, raisins and cashew nuts, specially prepared for the festival.

The Significance of Donating On Makar Sakranti

Donations made on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sakranti are believed to bring great benefits. Usually, food, Till, ladoos and warm clothes are donated during the festival. Also, taking a dip in the holy waters of the river Ganga is considered highly rewarding on this day.

The Bhagvada Gita elucidates the significance of dying during Uttarayana. In the Mahabharata, the great Bhishma Pitamah, lying on a bed of arrows, had purposefully waited for the Uttarayana to breathe his last breath. According to scriptures, a person who dies during this time attains `Moksha` or liberation from being born repeatedly.

The Ritual of Flying Kites and Eating Khichdi

Over the years, Makar Sankranti has come to be associated with flying kites. Although, it is still unknown how this ritual began, flying kites has now become synonymous with Makar Sankranti and many kite flying competitions are held, mainly in the Northern and Western states of India. The ritual of eating Khichdi, a dish made from rice and lentils is also quite prevalent in many North Indian states.

astroYogi.com wishes you  a very Happy Makar Sankranti!

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Latest News

  • Drummer for Journey in jail on rape charges in Oregon
    Drummer for Journey in jail on rape charges in Oregon

    By Shelby Sebens PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Journey drummer Deen Castronovo was in jail in Oregon on Tuesday on charges of rape and sexual assault, court officials said. Castronovo made an afternoon court appearance where a Marion County Circuit Judge did not set bail for his release, court officials said. Castronovo, of Salem, Oregon, is charged with rape, assault and unlawful use of a weapon stemming from his arrest in an alleged domestic violence incident on June 14, the Statesman Journal …

  • Trump sues Univision for $500 million over Miss USA cancellation
    Trump sues Univision for $500 million over Miss USA cancellation

    U.S. presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit on Tuesday against Univision over the Spanish-language TV network's decision to end its contract to broadcast the Miss USA pageant, which is co-owned by Trump. Univision said last week it would not air the July 12 pageant because of what it called insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants made by Trump when he announced he was running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. The 19-page …

  • An older, wiser Schwarzenegger returns in 'Terminator: Genisys'
    An older, wiser Schwarzenegger returns in 'Terminator: Genisys'

    By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Arnold Schwarzenegger may be older but that does not stop him from destroying his younger self, as the former governor of California returns to one of his most recognizable roles in "Terminator: Genisys." The film, out in theatres on Wednesday, opens a new chapter for the "Terminator" franchise, with a slew of new cast members joining Schwarzenegger, including "Game of Thrones" actress Emilia Clarke and "Divergent" star Jai Courtney. The story …

  • Misty Copeland leaps past racial barrier in U.S. ballet
    Misty Copeland leaps past racial barrier in U.S. ballet

    By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Misty Copeland on Tuesday became the first African-American female principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre in the dance company's 75-year history. Copeland, 32, joined American Ballet Theatre in 2001 and has been a soloist with the prestigious company since 2007. "I am so honoured to be a principal dancer, to be an African American and to be in this position," an emotional Copeland, who started ballet at age 13, told a news conference. …

  • Trump sues Univision for $500 mln over Miss USA cancellation
    Trump sues Univision for $500 mln over Miss USA cancellation

    U.S. presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit on Tuesday against Univision over the Spanish-language TV network's decision to end its contract to broadcast the Miss USA pageant, which is co-owned by Trump. Univision said last week it would not air the July 12 pageant because of what it called insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants made by Trump when he announced he was running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. The 19-page …

  • Jacques Pépin preps book, TV series ahead of 80th birthday
    Jacques Pépin preps book, TV series ahead of 80th birthday

    By Richard Leong NEW YORK (Reuters) - Renowned celebrity chef Jacques Pépin may be approaching his 80th birthday, but the award-winning cook is still going strong. Pépin's second book, "La Technique," was published nearly four decades ago and is considered a classic tome on French cooking. His upcoming book and television series, "Jacques Pépin: Heart & Soul in the Kitchen," will debut in October. The French-born, Connecticut-based chef, who has recovered after suffering a minor stroke in …

  • Actors Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner announce plans to divorce
    Actors Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner announce plans to divorce

    Hollywood A-list couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner on Tuesday announced plans to divorce, a day after their 10th wedding anniversary. "After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce. We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children, whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time," the couple said in a joint statement. Oscar-winning Affleck, 42, and Garner, 43, starred …

  • Will pope chew coca leaves in Bolivia? "Wait and see," Vatican says
    Will pope chew coca leaves in Bolivia? "Wait and see," Vatican says

    By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will decide for himself if he chews coca leaves in order to ward off altitude sickness when he lands next week at La Paz, Bolivia, the highest international airport in the world, the Vatican said on Tuesday. A Bolivian minister said on Sunday that Francis had told government officials that he would like to chew coca leaves - the major ingredient of cocaine - when he visits.. But spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, responding at a …

Loading...