Makar Sankranti: The festival of New Beginnings
Makar Sankranti is celebrated as a very important festival in India. It’s a multifaceted festival and represents multiculturalism in today’s society where many different states and cultures celebrate the festival in their own way. It’s a festival for farmers as the harvesting is complete and they celebrate it. It’s a festival of celestial significance as the sun begins its northward journey and enters the sign of Makar (the Capricorn) from the Tropic of Cancer. And it’s a festival of new beginning.
Makarsankranti will be celebrated on 14th January 2017.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with utmost happiness and zest in every state of India. The playful nature of festival allows everyone to fly kites during day time, and therefore it is also known as the flying kite festival. Not only this, but the festival had many religious beliefs. This festival is cited in many religious manuscripts which enlighten us about the festival’s religious significance. Different regions and their cultural celebration of Makar Sankranti are as follows:
|State ||Makar Sankranti is known as ||Celebrations |
|Assam ||Bhogali Bihu || |
|Andhra Pradesh & Telangana ||Sankranti ||Young girls feed the animals, birds and fish as a symbol of sharing. |
|Bihar and Jharkhand ||Makar Sankranti or Sakraat or Khichdi ||Worshiping and putting til (sesame seeds) into fire |
|Delhi and Haryana ||Sakraat or Sankranti ||Brother of married woman visits her home with a gift |
|Goa ||Makar Sankranti ||Haldi-kumkum |
|Gujarat ||Uttarayan ||Kite flying |
|Himachal Pradesh ||Magha Saaji ||Ceremonial dips and shower |
|Karnataka ||Suggi ||Drawing rangoli in groups, Kite flying |
|Kerala ||(Celebrated at Sabrimala where the Makara Jyothi is visible) ||Makaravilakku celebrations |
|Uttarakhand ||Makara Sankranti ||Ceremonial dips in holy rivers, Uttarayani fairs, celebrate the festival of Ghughutia or Kale Kauva |
|Maharashtra ||Makara Sankranti ||Haldi-Kumkum, Worship of Goddess Saraswati |
|Odisha ||Sankranti ||Celebrated with great enthusiasm, singing, dancing etc. |
|Punjab ||Maghi / Lohri ||Eat sumptuous food and Dance |
|Rajasthan ||Sankrat/ Makar Sankrati ||Sankrant Bhoj, Kite flying |
|Tamil Nadu ||Pongal (4-Day Celebration) ||Boiling rice with fresh milk and jaggery in new pots |
|Uttar Pradesh ||Sankranti ||First of the big bathing days, Kite Flying |
|West Bengal ||Poush Sankranti / Poush Parbon, Magey Sakrati (in certain places) ||Baharlaxmi Puja |
The Legend of Makar Sankranti:
As per Hindu mythological Scriptures it is believed that on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti, Lord Surya visits his son Lord Shani, who is also the representative of Capricorn. To celebrate the healthy relationship between a father and son, despite their differences, Makar Sankranti is considered significant. It is also believed that if a father visits his son on this particular day, their conflicts get resolved and positivity is shared with happiness and prosperity. Another legend who is associated with Makar Sankranti is Bhisma Pitamah, who was blessed with a special boon of choosing his death time. He was lying on the bed of arrows but he waited for the auspicious time of Uttarayan. So whoever dies during this period achieves salvation.
How to conduct the Puja.
Those who want to celebrate Makar Sankranti and conduct a holy puja at their home must consider the special Makar sankranti Puja vidhi. Please follow the below steps:
- Before you start the Puja keep the Punya kaal muhurta and maha punya kaal muhurta in mind. And make sure all the images or idols are clean and properly placed in Puja altar. This Puja will be conducted to seek blessings of Lord Surya, so keep his idol or image at altar.
- Take the plate to keep four black and four white Til Laddoos. Keep some money in the plate.
- Among other ingredients are a mixture of rice flour and turmeric powder, betel nuts and leaves, holy water, flowers and incense sticks.
- An offering to the deity consists of Ghevar (a sweet dish), four laddos made of black tils and four made of white til alongwith some coins. Put all this in a plate.
- Keep this plate of offering in front of the idol of Lord Surya. And start the Puja prayers.
- During Puja processing ladies must cover their heads with Dupatta or Saree’s pallu.
- Chant the Surya mantra for minimum 21 times or 108 times. Surya Mantra: 'Om Hram Hreem Hroum Sah Suryaya Namah'
Some devotees wear 12 mukhi Rudraksha during the Puja or they start wearing it after energizing Rudraksha in Puja. Among gemstone Ruby is worn on this day.
The Punya Kaal Muhurta is between 07:50 hrs to 18:17 hrs (IST)
Total Duration of 10 Hours 26 mins.
The Sankranti Moment will begin at 07:50 hrs.
The Mahapunya Kaal Muhurta will be between 07:50 hrs to 08:14 hrs.
Total Duration of just 24 mins.
Benefits of Conducting Puja on Makar Sankranti:
- The Consciousness or Cosmic intelligence increases to many levels, so by conducting Puja you can derive benefits of higher consciousness.
- The Spiritual emotion enhances the body and purifies it.
- The offerings done during this period yields successful results.
- It’s a holy time to spread Spirituality and Dharma in society.