Makar Sakranti Festival is a major Hindu festival celebrated all over South Asia with regional variations of rituals. The festival Makar Sakranti is known from different names in different parts. This is known as Thingyan in Manyamar, Songkran in Thiland, Moha Sangkran in Combodia. It is known as Pongal in Tamilnadu, Maghe Sankranti in Nepal, Khichadi in Utter Pradesh & Bihar, Uttarayan in Gujrat. It heralds the beginning of spring season. Also this is regarded harvest season over the India. Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14th January as per Gregorian calendar . It falls in the month Magh (a month of Hindu calendar). This festivity is celebrated with great fervour and zeal in different parts of Asia with different rituals and traditions. Notably, celebration includes ‘kite flying’ and serving different dishes.
Origin And History Behind Makar Sakranti Festival
Many stories and sayings are connected to the celebration of this festival. It is believed that The God sun visits the house of his son Shani (Saturn) on this auspicious day. The Saturn is the Lord of ‘zodiac Capricorn called Makar in Sanskrit’. So, this commemorates the celebration of Makar Sankranti. This day also symbolyses the special relationship between father and son. Another well-known reference to this celebration goes to epic Mahabharat. Bhismpitamah was blessed with Ichha Mrityu (die willingly) and he chose this day to be died. Gangaji (river Ganga) came down on the earth followed by Maharshi Bhagirath and merged into sea. Through generation it was forwarded the next ones.
Celebration of Makar Sakranti Festival
The celebration of Makar Sankranti varies due to locality but some rituals are same. The day starts with having freshed and taking a bath.People worship rising sun by offering water & flowers with both the hands and chant Gayatri Mantra. They pray for knowledge , wisdom and prosperity. In Bihar & Utter Pradesh, known as Khichadi and holds special zeal among people. They take dips in holy river and serve Til & Laai (special Laddu). They relish a particular dish named `Kichadi (made of rice, pulse and pumpkin). Fairs are held at some places like Magh Kumbh Mela held annually at Prayag.
Scientific Importance Of Makar Sakranti & Astrology
When the sun enters from one zodiac to other, this is called Sankranti.So there are 12 Sankranti. On this day sun from region of zodiac Cancer to that of Capricorn(called Makar in Sanskrit) and the phenomenon is celebrated as Makar Sankranti. From 14th January onward , day starts to be hotter and longer as compared to night. After passing 6 month in south solstice , the sun enters in north solstice on this day.
It is the only Hindu festival lying on the same date every year. The festivity takes place on 13th and 15th January in some parts according as traditions. Cock fighting, kite flying and other regional games are held at the occasion. The god ‘sun’ is worshiped in this festival.