Sankranti | Makarsankranti
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.
3. On this Day Lord Vishnu ended terror of Asurs and buried their heads under Mandar Parvat. So this day signifies end of all negatives.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Sikhs celebrates this day as Maghi. On this day Guru Govind Singh discarded beydaava of 40 sikhs.
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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