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Makar Sankranti 2021

 

Makar Sankranti 2021

Makar Sankranti
is a Hindu festival which marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of a new harvest season.

Celebrated on 14th January every year, the festival is dedicated to lord Sun. According to Hindu calendar the day has special importance, on this auspicious day the Sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn or Makar which marks the end of the winter month and start of warm longer days.

Also, the day mark the beginning of the month Magh (month of Hindu calendar). With the arrival of a bit warm climatic condition harvest season is also welcomed in India, farmers see the festival as a big relief and no less than rainy season.

Different names of Makar Sankranti in different parts of the country

  • Sankranti
  • Uttarayan
  • Magh Bihu
  • Lohri
  • Maghi
  • Thai Pongal
  • Ghunghuti

The festivities associated with Makar Sankranti are known by various names, such as Maghe Sankranti in Nepal, Magh Bihu in Assam, Maghi (preceded by Lohri) in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, popular amongst both the Hindus and Sikhs, Sukarat in central India, Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Ghughuti in Uttarakhand Makara Sankranti in Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal (also called Poush Sankranti) and Uttar Pradesh (also called Khichdi Sankranti) or simply as Sankranthi in Andhra Pradesh (also called as Pedhha Panduga) and Telangana. 


Lohri setup 

In Haryana and Punjab, the festival is known as Lohri and is celebrated on 13th January. People in the region create a bonfire and throw sesame seeds, puffed rice and popcorns as a part of celebration, In Gujarat the occasion is called Uttarayan.

Why Makar Sankranti is also known as Uttarayan?

Ancient Hindu scholars and astrologers made the Hindu calendars mainly on the basis of celestial movements they observed and till today all the rituals such as marriage are fixed on the basis og that calendar, the calendar is made is such a dynamic way that it marks the movement of the sun and moon. The occasion of Makar Sankranti is also an example of such celestial movements, on this day the sun begins its north ward journey or Uttarayan journey (Uttar is a hindi word for north).

History of Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is a devine festival. As per the legend Sankranti killed a devil named Sankarasur. The day next to Makar Sankranti is called Karidin or Kinkrant. On this day, Devi slayed the demon Kinkarasur. This significance of the festival is traceable to the Vedic texts, particularly the Gayatri Mantra, a sacred hymn of Hinduism found in its scripture named the Rigveda.

Mainly the festival is celebrated according to the movement od the sun. another Sankranti, known as Karka Sankranti is marked when the sun begins its southern movement, according to the scriptures, this movement is called Dakshinayan (Dakshin is a Hindi word for South). Karka Sankranti symbolizes the night of god or a sign of negativity.

In ancient times people does not have light bulbs and with less day light working would be much difficult, also during winters life does not bloom much. Many plants shed their leaves due to cold and many animals and insect goes into hibernation, also due to very lower temperatures death of people must be a common phenomenon, also with less animals and dry appearing trees the surroundings must have been a very negative one. This could be a reason why the winter solicit (Karka Sankranti)  would have been consider as the period of negativity.

Rituals of Makar Sankranti

On this day people take a holy dip in Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, or Krishna river, at holy places people chants mantras and to celebrate it as the festival of harvest people buy chiwda or chura ( a cereal made by flatting rice) and dip it into milk or curd. In some part of India many people burn black til or black sesame seeds since, it is belived that burning sesame seeds in fire remove negativity from their lives.

Popular sweets which bring lots of sweetness in the celebration

Indian festivals are incomplete without sweets, whether its holi, Diwali or Dussehra  or even a simple ritual a sweet is must. Makar Sankranti's sweets items are Tilkhut, sesame laddoo or til laddoo, sweets made of jagery and groundnuts etc. 


Makar Sankranti-Kite festival

Almost every part on Indian skies you can observe kites in different shapes, colours and sizes. Kite flying is one of the most famous part of the festival, every year Gujarat hosts the international kite festival in which people from different part of the country and globe participate and show their kites. The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi often participate in the festival.

Religious importance of the festival

Normally the Sun affects all the zodiac signs, but it is said that the entry of sun into the zodiac sign of Cancer and Capricorn is very fruitful as per religious aspects. On the occasion people in India express their gratitude towards the Sun by worshiping the Sun god Surya in his various forms. During this period any meritorious deeds of donation is considered as more fruitful.

A haldi kumkum ceremony is performed in a way that invokes the waves of quiescent Adi-Shakti (Goddess Durga) in the Universe to get triggered, this helps in enhancing the spiritual emotion of a person to God.

Makar Sankranti is a festival which marks many possible aspects of ancient and modern civilisation, relating it to the ancient times it speaks about the astrological development of people who lived thousand of years ago and in today’s world it marks the joyfulness of the harvesting season though in-common between the two, it talks about the solidified fact of welcoming the new warm climate in the country.

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