Makar Sankranti is the only Indian festival that falls according to the English calendar. It is the end of the winter season in India and the northward journey of the sun, bringing the arrival of spring. This festival is celebrated on 13th January year after year. It is the sankranti, transition (sankranti) of the sun to the zodiac sign of Capricorn (makar)
This festival is very auspicious and celebrated with enthusiasm all over India. It is surprising that though festival celebrations are all over India has different meaning or reason, but the celebration activities are very similar to all the regions of India.
Worship of the sun god
Spiritually- Great importance is given to the worship of the sun god. The Sun holds the central position in the planetary system. All the ancient civilizations are known to pray the sun god. The light and energy that it gives to the earth selflessly is symbolic to us people to be selfless in our deeds. Its constant rising everyday is symbolic to consistency and dependability in a person’s nature. The sun also stands for knowledge and wisdom so we pray for enlightenment and our progress. As the sun removes darkness on earth to begin a new day, it symbolizes our transition from darkness to light. The fire that is lit during celebrating of lohri has the same significance.
Scientifically- After the winter season, everyone is in great spirits to welcome the northward journey of the sun, as the days would go longer which is very important for an agricultural country like India. It is the celebration of harvest time.
A dip in holy waters
Spiritually- all over India, significance is given to a holy dip in the waters to wash away sins or atonement. In Bengal, people throng at Ganga Sagar for the spiritual dip. It is a popular belief that river Ganga was brought to the earth on this day by King Bhagirath to wash away the sins of his ancestors. Allahabad is also crowded with multitudes for a holy dip. This holy dip is significant of the awareness of our sins, and a promise to us to be a better person. This is a time to retrospect our deeds, good and bad.
Scientifically- The rays of the sun when passes thru the water, it creates a natural prism, which breaks the light to enter our body for healing keeping us energized and free from all ailments.
Prasaad during the festival
Til peanuts popcorn and jiggery, in the form of chikki or gajak the most commonly eaten or offered food during the festival. In the south and Bengal, rice cooked in milk and jiggery is meant to be auspicious.
Spritually it is to bind friends and relatives, and symbolizes gesture to remove all bitterness of the past in our relationships. Til emanates from Lord Vishnu’s Body, so it washes away all our sins. The Payas or Kheer is a symbol of positivity making way to positive thoughts and attitude in life.
Scientifically til and jiggery are rich in iron content and are of the “garam prakriti”. These food eaten during this time are very healthy and a rich source of vital vitamins and minerals for the body. Payas is good for our digestive system.
Community feeling during festival
Makar sankranti, celebrated in its different forms in different parts of India, like Lohri, Pongal Utarayan, Magh Bihu or Gangasagar Mela, all are significant in sharing and creating a community feeling. It is fun, dance, feast, kite flying, and Family time.
This is symbolic to perceiving of liberation from all our past inhibitions.
Festival of sharing
Til ,Gud, Gajak, Revadi, are sweetmeats that are shared and given in Charity. This act of charity is to create a feeling of sharing with the less privileged. To donate you are doing a good deed, which helps wash away sins.
We are actually learning to be humble, putting aside our ego. Work, share and be honest, to properly cultivate the generation, which has to carry forward all the best you cherish & value.
The celebration of this festival is held all over India with zest and fanfare. It has special names and rituals in the different parts of India. It is also mentioned in our epics. This day holds a historical and religious significance. Worship of the sun for wisdom and value gives a special eternal meaning to this festival.
"Wish Your Very Happy Lohari and Makar Sankarnti To All Of You"