The Festival of Makar Sankranti

Things You Should Know About Makar Sankranti

Makar SankrantiCourtesy of How2Learn

Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival. Once the harvest is complete and people are happy and relaxed. Sankranti festival is a time for celebration and thanks giving. Farmers thank everyone who had helped them get this generous harvest.

Makar SankrantiCourtesy of Curt Carnemark

Sankranti or Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals. It is celebrated all across India and Nepal. It is known by many names and celebrated in different way in different parts of the country.

Makar SankrantiCourtesy of Rudra Centre

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Makar Sankranti symbolizes the movement of the Sun into the Makara rashi or zodiac sign of Capricorn on its celestial path. It also marks the end of the winter solace and arrival of spring in India. It is the beginning of warmer and longer days and shorter nights.

Makar SankrantiCourtesy of Astromax

Only a few Hindu festivals are celebrated on the same date and Sankranti is one of them. However, the tilt of the Earth’s axis causes Makar Sankranti to move over the ages. A thousand years ago, Makar Sankranti was on 31 December and is now on 14 January. And, according to calculations, by the year 2050, Makar Sankranti will fall on 15 January and occasionally on 16 January.

Makar SankrantiCourtesy of Sangam @ UCF

People celebrate Sankranti by offering prayer to the Sun god. They clean their homes and decorate it. They wear new clothes and sing and dance. Women make rangoli or kolam/muggu in front of the house. Sankranti is also a time to eat til laddus, chikkis and to fly kites.

There are many interesting stories related to Makar Sankranti:

As per the Puranas, lord Surya visits the house of his son Shani on Sankranti. Lord Shani is the master of Makar rashi (Capricorn). This day symbolizes the beginning of a healthy relationship of father and son.

It is believed that on this very day Lord Vishnu ended the menace of demons by killing them and burying their heads under the Mandara Mountain.

According to Mahabharata, Bhishma Pitamah chooses death on Sankranti day. It’s believed that anybody who dies on Makar Sankranti attains freedom from the cycle of life and death.

And, king Bhagirath brought river Ganga down on earth to give liberation to 60,000 sons of Maharaja Sagar. Till date lakhs of people gather on Ganga Sagar on Makar Sankranti to offer liberation (tarpan) to their ancestors.

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