As per the solar calendar, the festival falls on 14 January every year, marking the day when the sun transits into the Makara Rashi or Capricorn zodiac sign. In addition to the end of winter, it also marks the beginning of a new harvest season. Hindus consider it one of the most auspicious days of the year.
Makar means Capricorn, and Sankranti means transition, so Makar Sankranti refers to the transition of sun into the Capricorn zodiac. According to Hinduism, this is the most auspicious time of the year, and the people celebrate the festival with great fun & fervour.
Sankranti day is usually celebrated in honor of the Hindu god Surya (the sun). This day marks the end of winter and the beginning of longer days. It's also the day when the sun enters Capricorn or Makar, marking the start of the month of Magh. To compensate for that, every 80 years on this day, it's deferred by one day. From this Makar Sankranti, the sun begins its Northward journey, or Uttarayan journey. This festival is also known as Uttarayan. On this day, farmers all over India wish for a good harvest.
There is a legend that Sankranti killed a devil called Sankara Sur. The day next to Makar Sankranti is called Karidin or Kinkrant. On this day, Devi killed the devil Kinkarasur. Makar Sankranti information can be found in Panchang. Hindu Almanac provides information about Sankranti's age, form, clothing, direction, and movement.
The Drik Panchaang believes that the period between Makar Sankranti and 40 Ghatis (roughly 16 hours if you live in Indian locations) from the time of Makar Sankranti is considered a good time for auspicious tasks. This duration of 40 Ghatis is known as Punya Kaal. Whenever Sankranti happens, like taking a bath or giving naivedhya (food offered to deity) to Lord Surya, charity should be done during this time. If Makar Sankranti happens after sunset, all Punya Kaal activities are postponed till the next sunrise. The Drik Panchaang suggests all Punya Kaal activities should be done during the daylight.
Karka Sankranti marks the beginning of the northward movement of the sun. The period between Karka Sankranti and Makar Sankranti is called the Dakshinayan.
According to the scriptures, Dakshinayan is considered a symbol of the night of God, or the sign of negativity. Uttarayan is considered a symbol of the day of God, or the sign of positivity. Due to this, people take holy dips in rivers such as the Ganges and Yamuna at holy places like Haridwar and Triveni Sangam during this period. It's said that entering any zodiac sign that falls between Aries and Pisces is particularly auspicious for Cancer and Capricorn astrological signs due to the influence of Mesha Rashi.
The sun is in the Southern Hemisphere before Makar Sankranti, so Indian winter nights are longer and days are shorter. However, with Makar Sankranti, the sun moves towards the Northern Hemisphere, so days will be longer and nights will be shorter.
The people of India express their gratitude to the sun, God, throughout the year by worshiping him in various forms. Any deeds or donations made during this time are more fruitful.
By performing the Haldi Kumkum ceremony in a way that triggers the waves of quiescent Adi - Shakti in the Universe, the spiritual emotion toward God is enhanced & a sense of Sagun devotion is generated.
A kite festival marks the beginning of spring, which means people can now spend more time outdoors. Flying kites in the morning was a nice way to spend time.
As part of Makar Sankranti, many chikkis or sesame and jaggery ladoos are consumed. This is because the festival occurs during the winter when warm foods are supposed to be consumed. The celebration of Makar Sankranti is incomplete without sweets made with til (sesame seeds) and gud (jaggery). People prepare and share sweets like gajak, chikki, til laddoo, etc.
It is believed that donating rice, wheat, and sweets to Makar Sankranti leads to prosperity and removes all obstacles for the person who donates it.
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