What Is Makar Sankranti & Why Is It Celebrated?

Category : Arts & Culture | Sub Category : Culture Posted on 2022-01-14 08:30:29


What Is Makar Sankranti & Why Is It Celebrated?

In the Vedas, Sankranti deciphers the movement of the Sun from one Rashi (constellation of the zodiac) to the next. Hence, there are 12 Sankranti in a year. Out of these, the Makar Sankranti also dubbed ‘Poush Sankranti’ is considered the most auspicious and it is one of the few Hindu festivals that is aligned with the solar cycle. The Makar Sankranti festival marks the beginning of the harvest season when new crops are worshipped and shared with delight.

It heralds a change in season, as from this day the Sun begins its movement from Dakshinayana (South) to Uttarayana (North) hemisphere, marking the official end of Winters. Both a religious occasion and a seasonal observance, the occasion also marks the sun’s transit into Makar Raashi (the Capricorn zodiac sign).

Traditional Connotation & Importance Of Makar Sankranti As Per Ayurveda

According to Hindu scriptures, on the day of Makar Sankranti, Lord Vishnu defeated the terror wreaked by demons by severing their heads and burying them under a mountain, symbolizing the end of negativities whilst giving way to righteousness and good intentions to live well and prosper.

Therefore, this day is very conducive for Sadhana- the spiritual practice or meditation as the environment is full of ‘Chaitanya’ meaning ‘cosmic intelligence’.

The Morning Ritual

In the ancient scriptures, it is suggested that one should wake up just before sunrise and take a bath on the day of Makar Sakranti, for a positive and auspicious start to the day. It is also recommended to mix a small amount of Til or Sesame Seeds into your bathing water. After bathing, one must offer prayers to the Sun by chanting the Gayatri Mantra and doing Argya- offering water to the Sun.

Which God Is Worshipped On Makar Sankranti?

Sun stands for “Pratyaksha-Braham”, “a manifestation of the absolute”, bestowing knowledge, spiritual light, and wisdom, and hence Makar Sankranti is a special festival across the country, where Surya- the Sun God is worshipped and offered gratitude and prayers.

Festive Rituals: What Do We Do On Makar Sankranti?

Food

Makar Sankranti is a time to consume freshly harvested food grains, which are first offered to the Gods and then eaten. Ayurveda suggests eating Khichdi since it is a light and easily digestible dish. The connotation of eating Khichdi is that it prompts the body to prepare for the change in season, from the cold winter breeze to the forthcoming warmth of Spring. As the temperature fluctuates from dry cool to surprisingly lukewarm, the body consequentially becomes susceptible to imbalances. Khichdi thus makes for the perfect dish to quench the appetite whilst providing the body with essential nutrition.

Apart from its benefits for your health, cooking and eating Khichdi on Makar Sankranti is symbolic of unity, since the dish is cooked in a single pot by uniting all the ingredients including freshly harvested rice, lentils, seasonal vegetables, and spices, together. It signifies the process of life and regeneration, which further indicates the beginning of the new harvest year.

Ayurveda also suggests the intake of Sesame Seeds and Jaggery on this divine day. Sankranti and Til (Sesame) are synonymous with each other as the festival is also commonly known as ‘Til Sankranti’. Sesame seeds have the ability to absorb negativity and improve the ‘Sattva’ – purity, goodness, and harmony, which in turn facilitate spiritual practice.

One of the most common attractions of Poush Sankranti especially in the region Gujrat is kite flying. The sound of ‘Kai Po Che’ against the lip-smacking sweets laid out on the terrace is almost an involuntary visual that comes to mind when thinking of Makar Sankranti. It is also believed that the kite flying ritual came into play as a practice of good health. The idea was to expose oneself to the first light of the early morning forthcoming Summer sun and douse in the goodness of Vitamin D.

The Fresh news world family wishes you a very happy Makar Sankranti! On this auspicious occasion take a moment to ponder over the past, wash off the negativity and pave the way for a new light to enter your life!

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