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Makar Sankranti 2016: Rituals & Legend

Last Updated: 1/3/2013 1:16:02 PM

Makar Sankranti is the auspicious day when Sun begins into northward journey by transiting into sign, Capricorn. From this very day, commencement of auspicious activities is undertaken and new beginnings are made. Let’s know more about this significant day.

Makar Sankranti is celebrated every year on 13th, 14th or 15th of January, when Sun enters into Capricorn from Sagittarius. In 2016, Makar Sankranti will fall on January 15. Sun's Uttarayan cycle starts from this day.

Vedic Beliefs

In Vedic times, Uttarayan was known as Devayan and Dakshinayan as Pitriyan. Holy souls enter into heaven during Sun's Uttarayan movement. It is for this reason, Makar Sankranti is known as Alok Parva as well. According to Hindu calendar, in the month of Paush, Almighty go to sleep and therefore, no auspicious works are advised in this month. But gods awake in the month of Magh, starting from Makar Sankranti and all auspicious events like marriage etc. can be organized.

Makar Sankranti In different states

Makar Sankranti is celebrated differently in different states all across the India. In Bengal, the festival is synonymous with donating Til after taking bath. In Assam, it is celebrated as Bihu, while as Bhogi in Andhra Pradesh. Til-Gul is distributed in Maharashtra on this day. People give Til and Gud to each other and say -

'तीळ गूळ घ्या आणि गोड़ गोड़ बोला'

meaning, "take Til and gud and speak sweet things".

It is celebrated as Lohri in Punjab and Haryana. After the Sunset, people assemble to worship Agni Devata, offering Til, gud, rice etc. as ahuti. They exchange these things amongst themselves as well. Lohri has special significance for newly-married women and new-born kids.

Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Generally, Pongal celebrations extend to three days. Garbage is collected and burnt on the first day, while prayers are offered to Goddess Laxmi on the second day. On the third day, animals are worshiped. People take bath and prepare Kheer (sweet rice porridge) in the courtyard in the utensil made of clay, which is called Pongal. Prasad is offered to Sun God after that. Then, Kheer is distributed in the form of Prasad.

Sacred bath and Donations on Makar Sankranti

Taking bath and giving donations has special importance in Makar Sankranti. Traditionally, donations are given away after taking bath in a river and eating Khichri. Religious scriptures also emphasize upon bath, donation and religious jobs on this day. It has been said that donations given on Makar Sankranti comes back hundred times more in next birth. In the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, people bath collectively in sacred rivers like Ganga and give away things like til, gud, rice, etc. Giving woolen clothes and blankets to Brahmins has also special importance on this day.

More from the section: Dharm
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