November 20, 2016
Makar Sankranti is India’s major festival. This day, sun moves from Tropic of Capricorn (Dakhshinayan) to Tropic of Cancer(Uttarayana). Makar Sankranti is celebrated in different states of nation with different names. In Tamil Nadu it is called Pongal. In Assam it is celebrated as Magh Bihu and Bhogal Bihu. In states of Punjab and Haryana it is celebrated as Lohri festival. In Uttar Pradesh it is celebrated as Khichdi or Donation festival. In Bihar it is known as Til Sankranti or Khichdi festival.
Makar Sankranti and religious beliefs: The way Makar Sankranti is celebrated in every state of India with faith and joy, it can be guessed that the festival has some religious beliefs. This festival is mentioned in many of our religious text which enlighten about the festival’s religious significance. The religious scripture, “Gita” which is known as the voice of Lord Krishna, illustrates that six months of Uttarayan is the day time of deity.
And, the 6 months of Dakhshinayan is the night for Gods. It is believed that person who scarifies his body(dies) in Uttarayan get a position in ‘Krishna Lok’. That person gets liberation, whereas, the one who dies in Dakhshinayan, has to be reborn.
In the era of Mahabharata, Bhishma Pithama had a blessing of wish death. Although lying on the bed of arrows, he did not sacrifice his life in the Dakhsinayan, and waited for the Sun to go in Uttarayan. It is believed that on the day of Makar Sankranti, when sun entered in the Uttarayan, Bhishma Pithama, discarded his body.
In the case of Makar Sankranti, there is one more religious story which states that, Yashoda Mata kept fast to have Lord Krishna as her son. The story of Gangawatran is also linked with Makar Sankranti. It is said that on the day of Makar Sankranti, Ganga followed Bhagirath Muni and met the ocean. Conjunction of Ganga and ocean is the reason behind crowd of devotees taking bath in Ganagasagar on Makar Sankranti.
Capricorn is a sign of Saturn. On the day of Makar Sankranti, sun enters into the sign of Saturn.Sun God is the father of Saturn. Father goes to meet his son in his home. Saturn and Sun, both are might planets, who’s auspicious blessings can make humans achieve great success. Hence, on the holy festival of Makar Sankranti people delight sun and Saturn.
Makar Sankranti: The Festival of Truth, Virtue and Religion
Night is considered as the symbol of sin, false and wrong doings, whereas, day is regarded as the symbol of truth, virtue and religion. So, when it is day for Gods, all work of virtue are performed. The fruit of work is also good. On the day of Makar Sankrati when sun enters the Uttarayan, days become long and night becomes shorter. From this day the doors of Heaven are opened, so people celebrate the auspicious occasion.
Makar Sankranti: The Festival of Blessings
From the day of Makar Sankranti, the sun enters in Uttarayan resulting in long days. Married women pray to Sun God for long life of their husbands and give gifts to their elders, in return take blessing that the way days are getting longer, similarly, the life of their husbands also keep increasing.
Inspired by all these beliefs and feelings people celebrate the festival of Makar Sankranti.