MakarSankranti – An Amalgamation of Spirituality and Science : A festival known for flying kites and eating sweets of sesame seeds is MakarSankranti. It is a very important festival of India and shall be celebrated on the 14th of January 2018. Sankranti means “Movement” and movement is very essential for life. If our planet doesn’t move, life on earth can come to a standstill. This festival marks the gratitude to the Sun God for a good harvest and also to all the people who have made their contribution in our wellbeing. This festival is celebrated across the country with fervor and joy and in their own unique manner. After every 12 years, on the day of Makar Sankranti, Kumbh Mela is organized at the meeting point of Ganga and Yamuna River. People take a dip and pray to Sun God.
Even after being badly wounded and laying on the arrows, BhishmaPitamah waited till Uttarayan so that he can move on for his journey to heaven during an auspicious time. It is also said that people who die on this day attain salvation or moksha.
Significance of Celebrating Makar Sankranti
Like it is mentioned earlier that Sankranti means movement so this movement of earth brings about changes in the life. First of all the Zodiac Sign changes. Though there are many sankrantis happening throughout the year, Makar Sankranti is considered the most significant one. With the movement of Earth around the sun, life is nourished and with the change in Zodiac, we experience a new zeal in life. This period of transition into the zodiac of Capricorn is considered very auspicious. This marks the completion of the movement of Sun God towards the south and beginning of his journey towards the north.
Festival of Harvest – This is that time of the year when the harvesting completes. People are in for celebrations and show their gratitude to people who have helped in it. Cattle and the farm animals are also acknowledged. Sweets made of sesame seeds are distributed. This festival reminds us to design our present and future very consciously. As we harvest the crops of previous year, we need to make efficient plans for the next year’s harvest. In remote villages, people plan on the kinds of crops and the animals to be used in the harvest.
Spiritual Connect – This day marks as the day for knowledge and wisdom. The goddess of Education – Ma Saraswati is prayed by students. They are encouraged to study astronomy, science, astrology and math etc. as astronomy is the base of this festival. People let go of their differences and come together to rejoice and make the most of the festival. Kites are flown by people in many parts of the country. This activity of kite flying has a deeper significance. It denotes that the God is holding the strings of human beings. The push and pull denotes the ups and downs of the life. But if the kite is let loose, it cannot fly. People go for taking a holy dip in the sacred rivers such as Ganga, Yamuna, Krishna, and Godaveri etc.
Puja Shubh Muhurat
ShubhMuhurat is the time when you must perform the rituals as it is believed to reap more benefits. This is the time considered very auspicious for any work.
Time – On MakarSankranti in the year 2018, the PunyaKaalMuhurat starts from 2:00 pm till 5:41 pm. It lasts for 3 hours and 41 minutes. The MahapunyaKaalMuhurat starts from 2:00 pm till 2:24 pm. The PunyaKaal activities need to be done in the day time and not postponed till the next day. During the PunyaKaal, one must take bath, offer food or prasadam to the Sun God and offer charity. One can also break the fast or perform rituals during this time.
Vidhi – Marked as a festival for happiness and prosperity, this festival is considered very important for farmers. People observe a fast and chant on the various names of Sun God such as “Om SuryayeNamah”, “Om AadityayeNamah”. Sun brings light and spirituality to human beings thus this day is dedicated to all such activities. This day is considered very opportune for fasting and charity. People donate things made out of sesame seeds.
How to celebrate MakarSankranti?
MakarSankranti is recognized by various names in India. In Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, it is a four-day long celebration. People replace their old household things with new ones, make rangoli in their houses, feed cattle and engage in activities such as kite flying, cock fights and so on. It is called as Sakraat in Bihar and Jharkhand. People make Sakraat which means Khichdi in local language. In Gujarat this festival is referred to as Uttarayan. Called as Lohri in Punjab and MakarSankrant in Maharashtra. Not only in India, MakarSankranti is also celebrated in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.