MakarSankranti Info - Date, Tradition, Thingstodo

What day is Makarsankranti festival


In 2016 Sankranti is on Jan 15, 2016. Generally Sankranti is celebrated on Jan 14 every year
Most Most of Hindu festivals follow the position of the moon & their dates are based on the lunar calendar. Thats why the dates of Hindu festivals like Diwali, Rakhi, Holi change every year.
But Makar Sankranti is a festival which falls on the same day every year as it follows the solar calender.
However, once every eighty years, due to revolution, the day is postponed by one day. Thats why Makarsankranti is on Jan 15 this year.
Generally Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of January every year (sometimes on the 15th) for now. From 2050, it is predicted that the festival will fall on the 15th January (and occasionally on the 16th).

Before year 2000, internet was not available to everyone and the information about festival was not widely available. So Makarsankranti was celebrated mostly on Ja 14th.
Now the information & facts are available to everyone and it is celebrated on jan 14 or Jan 15.

Why Makarsankranti is celebrated

Makar (capricorn) is a Hindu zodiac sign and Sankranti means to change direction. According to Hindu calendar, Makar sankranti occurs when sun changes its direction northwards from Dhanu Rashi (Sagittarius) to enter the Makar Rashi (Capricorn) in the month of Poush. Makar Sankranti is considered very auspicious day and it is believed any sacred ritual or task can be started or performed on this day and it will be fruitful .It marks the beginning of harvesting season and end of chilly winter season.
Makarsankranti celebration is also tied to end of winter, harvesting season and festival is celebrated to thank God for good harvesting season and providing prosperity.

What is meaning of Makarsankranti

Sankranti is derived from word - Sat + Kranti means good change or auspiciios movement. Sankranti also signify change. Sankranti is a day of month when sun moves from one Zodiac sign to other. Sankranti is considered an auspicious day.
Makar means Capricorn. On Makar Sankranti sun moves from Sagittarius into Capricorn.

What is difference between Sankranti and Makarsankranti

Sankranti is once in a month. Makar Sankranti is celeberated once in year.

What are various names of Makar sankranti

Makarsankranti is celebrated with different names in various part of India and across the workd.

  • Makarsankranti in most of India
  • Pongal in AP, Tamilnadu
  • Makara Sankrama in Karnataka
  • Uttarayan in Gujarat
  • Kichdi in UP, Bihar, Uttarakhan
  • Maghi in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab
  • Bhogali Bihu in Assam
  • Pongal in Srilanka
  • Maghe Sankranti in Nepal
  • Songkran in Thailand
  • Thingyan in Myanmar
  • Moha Sangkran in Combodia
  • Pi Ma Lao in Laos

How people celebrate the festival

Eating Til, Gud, Chikki

On Lohri, Makar Sankranti people eat Til Gud, Gajjak, Revri,e sesame and jaggery laddoos, chikkis.
They are generally accompanied by the saying, "Til-gul ghya ani gud gud bola"
Festival fall in winter. This is perfect season to eat Til Gud.

Participate in Kite Festival

On Makarsankranti there is traition of Kite flying. It is very popular in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The tradition started in old days when Kite-flying was generally done in the early hours of the morning, when the sun's rays were bright but not too harsh.
Also, during kite-flying in Sun, the human body was exposed to the sun for many long hours.
The early morning sun rays is considered beneficial for the skin and body.
This is fun way to involve kids in religious festival so that they get benefit from sun rays.

Travel to Pilgrimages

Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela in UP India.
In Kerala, one of the most austere and difficult pilgrimages of Shabrimala ends on this auspicious day.
Other parts of the country too, celebrate by taking a dip in the holy rivers flowing through states to cleanse themselves of sins.
It is also believed that if a person die during Makar Sankranti day, person is not reborn but go directly to heaven. According to Mahabharata, Bhishma, who had the power to control his own death, happened to choose to die on the day of Maghe Sakranti (or Makar Sankranti). ince then it is a belief that one to die on this day will achieve Moksha, and will be released from rebirth cycle.

Various stories about festival

New year in Nepal

In Nepal ( Kirat community)New year start from Makarsankranti day. It is called Yele Dhung.
Based on the rical evidence Kirat calendar was started when King Yalamber conquered Kathmandu valley.

Birds return to hills after winter

In Utarakhan, Himachal Pradesh it is believed that from this day of Makarsakranti, which signals a change of season, the migratory birds start returning to the hills.

Day and night are equal on Sankranti

On Makarsankranti festival date - day and night are equal.

Story of Sun and Shani

There is story that on Makarsankranti day the Sun God forgets his anger on his son Shani and visits him.
there is tradition that father visit their son on Makarsankrant day

End of winter

Makarsankranti is related with Winter Solstice.
It is believed that the sun ends its southward journey (Sanskrit: Dakshinayana) at the Tropic of Capricorn, and then starts moving northward (Sanskrit: Uttarayaana) towards the Tropic of Cancer, in the month of Pausha on this day in mid-January.

How Makrsankranti is Celebrated

Celebration in South India for 4 days

In Andhrapradesha nd Telangana Makarsankranti is 4 day festival.
Day 1 – Bhogi (భోగి) (Andhra & Telangana only)
Day 2 – Makara Sankranti (మకర సంక్రాంతి-పెద్ద పండుగ)- the main festival day
Day 3 – Kanuma (కనుమ) (Andhra & Telangana only)
Day 4 — Mukkanuma (Andhra & Telangana only)

Celebration in Maharashtra

Makarsankranti is special day for the women in Maharashtra.
On this dayn married women are invited for a get-together called ‘Haldi-Kunku’ (literally meaning turmeric -vermillion) and given gifts such as utensils, clothes etc. On this day there is tradition of wearing Black sarees or black coloured outfits on this occasion.
The significance of wearing black is that Sankranti comes at the peak of the winter season and black colour retains and absorbs heat, helping keep warm.

Gangasagar mela in West Bengal

Gangasagar Fair

Gangasagar Mela or also called Gangasagar fair is the largest mela in West Bengal and the fair is held in the place where the river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal form a connection together. Thus the name called Gangasagar Mela came into picture.
The river Ganga originates from Gangotri glacier. This lies in the snow clad Himalayas. The Ganga descends down the mountains. It then reaches the plains at Haridwar. After that it flows through piligrimage places like Benaras and Prayag after which it goes to the Bay of Bengal.

Bihu celebration in Assam

Lastly comes Magh Bihu in the month of January on Sankranti day. Following a good harvest, the farmer gets some respite at this time of the year. Naturally, the whole emphasis is on feasting. A community feast goes on for a week. No one can spend all his time in eating. So there are diversions in the form of cattle fights and so on. Bonfires are also lit as part of the celebrations. This is the time when the important festival Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India.

MakarSankranti in Nepal

Maghe Sankranti (Nepali:???? ??????????? Nepal Bhasa:???????? ??????) is a Nepalese festival observed on the first of Magh in the Bikram Samwat Nepali calendar (around 14th January) bringing an end to the ill-omened month of Poush when all religious ceremonies are forbidden.
On this day, the sun is believed to leave its southernmost position and begin its northward journey. Maghe Sankranti is similar to solstice festivals in other religious traditions.
Hindus take ritual baths during this festival, at auspicious river locations. These include Sankhamul on the Bagmati near Patan; In the Gandaki/Narayani river basin at Triveni near the Indian border, Devghat near Chitwan Valley and Ridi on the Kaligandaki; and in the Koshi River basin at Dolalghat on the Sun Koshi. Festive foods like laddoo, ghee and sweet potatoes are distributed. The mother of each household wishes good health to all family members.
As per Kirat community Maghe Sankranti denotes start of a new year which is called Yele Dhung. Based on the rical evidence Kirat calendar was started when King Yalamber conquered Kathmandu valley.

More info on MakarSakranti

Sankranti is a word of Sanskrit language and it means transmigration of sun from one to another Rashi. Hence total 12 Sankranti falls a year but Sankranti festival means maker Sankranti when sun transmigrates from Dhanu to Makar Rashi. Makar Sankranti is celebrated on basis of solar calendar so its date remains same for years. It’s celebrated on 14th January every year. It’s basically a harvest festival and is celebrated with innumerable reasons and ways to celebrate all over the Indian Subcontinent.

The festival is known with many names like Makar Sankranti in Andra Pradesh, Sikkim, Goa, Bihar,Karnataka, Jharkhand, Bihar, Kerala, Orissa, Maharashtra, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh; Uttarayan in Gujarat and Rajasthan; Maghi in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana; Pongal in Tamilnadu, Magh Bihu or Bhogal Bihu in Assam valley; Shishur senkaraat in Kashmir valley; Makar Vilakku in Sabrimala Temple of Kerala.

This festival is celebrated in other countries also with different names like Maghi in Tharu people of Nepal and Maghe Sankranti in other people of Nepal; Songkran in Thailand, Pi Ma Lao in Laos; Thingyan in Myanmar; Moha Sangkran in Cambodia.

Significance of Makar Sankranti:

As we discussed that there are innumerable beliefs behind celebration of this festival; Here are a few of them:

1.    Its believed that Sun(Surya) visits the house of his son Saturn(Shani) on this day and stays for a month.

2.    Its believed that Day and Night for deities are of 6 months and on Makar Sankranti day of Devtas starts so its also called Uttarayana.

On this Day Lord Vishnu ended terror of Asurs and buried their heads under Mandar Parvat. So this day signifies end of all negatives.

On this day Maharaj Bhagirath finally succeded in bringing river Ganga to the earth and performed Tarpan for 60000 suns of maharaj sagar who burnt to ashes at the ashram of Kapil muni. He performed tarpan at Ganga sagar of present day and every year great fair is organised there and thousands of people performs tarpan for their ancestors.

On this day Bhishma pitamah of Mahabharata who was blessed with boon of ichcha mrityu decided to leave his mortal coil. He was lying on bed of arrows till this day. Its believed that who dies in Uttarayana becomes free from transmigration of soul.

Sikhs celebrates this day as Maghi. On this day Guru Govind Singh discarded beydaava of 40 sikhs.

Practices:

On this day its believed that donating clothes, eatables, money to humans or grass to cows washes the earlier sins of human and god blesses him with heaven after his or her death. Bath also has great significance on this day and in many states its said “Raja ka daan aur praja ka snaan” means donation by king and bath by common man carries equal importance. Til-Daan is also a very popular practice on this day.

Games like Kite Flying and SItolia are very popular in Indian States.

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