Makar Sankranti is an auspicious day for most of Hindus across the country. The significance of the festival is very high among the general populous as the festival is marked by the harvesting of crops and is celebrated by flying kite. The festival also highlights that the sun will enter into zodiac sign Makar (Capricorn). This year the festival will be celebrated on January 14. In many cultures, the festival marks the end of winter season. Along with Makar Sankranti, the festival such as Lohri, Pongal, and Bhogali Bihu will also be celebrated in various parts of the country. For many, various religious rituals mark the end of the harvest season. Many believe that taking a dip in the holy water on Makar Sankranti will wash away their sins.
It is a common tradition to meet and greet with their loved ones on Makar Sankranti and have delicious sweet dishes. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion across the country.
There is a huge amount of significance in the people who celebrate the festival of Makar Sankranti. The festival is regarded as the beginning of spring season. Makar Sankranti is also considered as ‘Uttarayan’ which is a six months pious period for Hindus. There is a huge importance of Uttarayan in Hindu religion. The six month period was mentioned in the famous Mahabharat, where Bhishma Pitamah was believed to have waited for the sun to be in uttarayan so he could die willingly. There is another legend which revolves around Lord Surya and his son Shani Dev. According to legend, Lord Surya forgive his son and visited him on Sankranti.
There are many ways the people celebrate Makar Sankranti. Some celebrate by flying kites and other celebrate by worshipping the sun. Sweet dishes are prepared and shared among the loved ones. Fairs like Kumbh Mela is held in Prayag and Gangasagar where thousands of worshippers come and take a dip in the holy river. Devotees are advised to keep fast during the festival. It is said that the devotees should take a bath with water and sesame seeds. Taking a dip in the holy river Ganga is considered very auspicious. After taking the bath one is advices to perform puja of Lord Surya. The pious time or the ‘muhurat’ of the festival starts from 2.00am to 5.41am.
There are a lot of puja samagri that is needed for the puja performed on Makar Sankranti. Items that are needed are: Dahi/Yoghurt, Dhoop batti, Fruits, Ganga Jal, Ghee, Jaggery, Turmeric powder, Cloves, Kumkum, dry fruits, coconut, panchamrit, flowers, prasad.
Not only religious, there is a logical explanation for the festival to be celebrated at this time of the year. It was believed that people who use to fall ill during the winter season as it is very cold, has a lot of germs. So people wake up and take bath early in the morning and go out to fly kites in order to let go of the germs.
From Financial Express, we wish you a Happy and prosperous Makar Sankranti.