Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious festivals celebrated in India. The word Makar Sankranti is unification of two words-Makar+Sankranti where makar means Capricorn and Sankranti signifies change of sign by Sun. As there are 12 rashis in zodiac, there are 12 Sankranti’s too and makar Sankranti is sun’s transit to Capricorn. Capricorn is the natural 10th house of Zodiac, and is also known as midheaven. Sun is perceived to be very powerful and auspicious in this sign. Makar Sankranti has been celebrated in India from centuries. No doubt this festival is very important from astrological and religious point of view but like all other hindu rituals this festival also has a proper scientific reason behind it. In this article we will discuss scientific, astrological and cultural facts related to makar Sankranti.
Science behind Makar Sankranti
Every hindu festival and ritual has a proper scientific base and explanation. Our ancient rishis and seers were very knowledagble persons and thus, our religion celebrate all major cosmic changes. Makar Sankranti is a one such change when the sun passes through the winter solstice, from the tropic of cancer to the tropic of Capricorn. With this, the earth starts its northward part of the rotation signifying that summers are beginning. Before this, sun was in southern hemisphere due to which nights are longer and days are shorter in India. On the day of makar Sankranti both day and night time is equal. After this, the days will become longer and warmer compared to nights. In ancient India, farming was the major occupation and Hindu festivals has been designed in a manner to honor mother nature in different ways.
Astrology behind Makar Sankranti
Having discussed the science behind the makar Sankranti, Let’s move to astrology. We all know that Makar Sankranti is deemed to be one of the most auspicious day to undertake any task. Well lets dig deep in this regard and find out what actually makar Sankranti means ? Here you need to know that there are 12 sankrantis in a year as there are 12 zodiac signs and every time sun changes its zodiac its known as Sankranti. Well all Sankranti’s are same? No, only one Sankranti has a special reference in our Vedic texts also and that is makar Sankranti.On this day,sun god enters the sign of Capricorn in the nakshatra of uttarashada.
As the sun has entered in northern hemisphere ,it is said that the period of Uttar Ayana has started which is highly auspicious according to our ancient seers.According to Surya siddhanta, Uttarayana is the period between the makar Sankranti and karka Sankranti(which occurs around July 16).It is also said that 6 months of Uttarayana are single day of God.They see this change as positive sign for crops and financial prosperity. It marks the termination of winter season and beginning of new harvest or spring season.
According to some ancient stories, it is also said that sun god has entered the house of his own son Saturn by forgetting all the rivalry with him. That why this day is considered very important as sun represents our soul in astrology, it’s the natural atmakaraka. The interesting thing to watch out this time is that Saturn is already present in Sagittarius in the nakshatra of uttarashada. On 24th January Saturn will also transit to Capricorn after 30 years which will be a rare phenomenon to watch out. Now, on 15th January sun will enter 2nd pada of uttarashada nakshatra which is a vargottama pada.(occupy same position in navamsa). Uttarashada is ruled by Sun itself and it signifies invincible victory. In order to attain invincible victory, patience and preservance is important. No doubt,you have to be patient as Sun is in territory of Saturn.
Rituals Across India
Now we will discuss rituals all across different states related to makar sankranti-
In Haryana,kheer and churma is prepared as prasadam. People also gift their married daughters on this auspicious day.Women celebrate and perform folk dance at homes.
Makar Sankranti is known as Maghi in Punjab. Taking holy bath in sarovars and rivers is one of the ritual. Hindus light lamps withsesame oil for overall prosperity. Kheer,khichdi,halwa and jaggery is prepared.
Uttarayan or makar sankranti is celebrated for two days. Flying kites is the most beautiful ritual followed by gujaratis. Delicacies such as Unidhyu and Chikkis (made from til,peanuts and jaggery) are prepared for this day.
It is known as poush Sankranti in west Bengal. The freshly harvested paddy and the date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur and Patali is used in the preparation of a variety of traditional Bengali sweets made with rice flour, coconut, milk and 'khejurer gur' (date palm jaggery) and known as 'Pitha' Goddess Laxmi is celebrated on the day of Sankranti.
In the city of Darjeeling people take bath in Ganga Sagar(a point where River Ganga meets Bay of Bengal).
Makar Sankranti is important for people who took pilgrimage to Sabari hills where they offer prayers and converge to witness a MAKAR JYOTI.
In Karnataka,Ellu-Bella is prepared and exchanged in a plate between people.(a mixture of groundnuts, coconuts and jaggery)
In assam it is known as magh bihu or bhogali bihu. The festival is marked by feasts and bonfires. Traditional assamese games such as pot breaking and buffalo fighting are played.
In Uttarakhand people give khichdi in charity and take ceremonial dips in river Ganga. People also celebrate Ghughutia or Kale kauva in which crows and other birds are welcomed and feeded.
Maharashtra has a legacy of Marathi culture and thus the rituals are unique and joyful. On this day,multicoloured halwa and til gud ladoo are prepared and exchanged. In Maharashtra ,people celebrate it as 3 day festival mostly.
In Shimla,makar Sankranti is known as Magha Saaji.On this day, people take dips in springs or baolis. In the daytime, people visit their neighbors and together enjoy khichdi with ghee and chaas and give it as charity in temple. It is also said, from this day the migratory birds starts returning to hills.
Reason behind use of til-gul and jaggery
The reason behind exchange and gifting of til gul is to remove bitterness from society. The underlying feeling is “Accept this til gul and utter sweet words.” We should forget all the past ill feelings and hostilities. The importance of sesame seeds is that it keeps body warm and keeps you good oil,which is needed as winter dried up moisture from body.
Timings for Makar Sankranti In 2020
Punyakaal - 06:50 am to 6:01 Pm.
Maha Punya Kaal - 7:15 am to 9:00 am.This timing is according to IST(Indian Standard Time).
How to honour sun on the day of makar sankranti?
1.Listen or recite sri Aditya hrudayam strotam for appeasing sun god.
2.As sun is transiting Capricorn, get blessings from fatherly figures.
3.You can also listen to surya mandala strotam given by lord Krishna to arjuna.
4.Giving donations on the day of makar Sankranti is extremely auspicious. Donation of clothes, desi ghee and other necessities can be good.
5.Also remember and honor your ancestors on this day. We should keep in mind that the blessings of ancestors is very important in life.
6.Sankranti is extremely auspicious for meditation and prayers.
7.Taking a holy dip in River Ganga can prove to be extremely beneficial. It helps to ward off negative influences from all over the body and soul.
8.In some states, Pongal is celebrated on same day and farmers show gratitude to Sun God on this day.
9.Donate khichdi prepared with multi colored grains in order to get rid of all negative planetary influences.
Makar Sankranti is an important day and has a huge astrological significance. Donation and tapas done on this day can be immensely beneficial. For personal consultations, according to your moon sign and ascendant in relation with makar Sankranti you can WhatsApp us at 9966667290, 8985195822.