January 14, 2013 2 Comments
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious day for the Hindus, and falls on 14 Jan every year. Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti means transition.Transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn in the northern hemisphere is known as Makar Sankranti. From this day begins the six-month long Uttarayana -Uttara meaning North and ayana meaning movement towards i.e. apparent migration of the sun. Makar Sankranti is celebrated in the Hindu Calendar month of Magha. After this date the days start becoming longer & warmer and the chill of winter in on the decline.
On Makar Sankranti day the sun begins its ascendancy and journey into the northern hemisphere. Uttarayana is considered very auspicious for attaining higher worlds hereafter. For Hindus the sun stands for Pratyaksha-Brahman – the manifest God who transcends time and rotates the Wheel of Time. The sun is worshiped as Surya.The famous Gayatri Mantra, which is chanted everyday by every faithful Hindu, is directed to Sun God to bless them with intelligence & wisdom. Sun not only represents God but also stands for an embodiment of knowledge & wisdom.
The Zodiac sign Capricorn i.e.Makar Rashi,is believed to be ruled by Lord Shani i.e. the planet Saturn. Shani is believed to be the sun of Surya and they are believed to not get along well.On this day Surya visits the house of his son Shani despite differences between them and stays for a month. This symbolizes the importance of special relationship of father & son. It is the son who has the responsibility to carry forward his father’s dream and the continuity of the family.Hence the tradition of visiting the son’s family on this day,with gifts.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in a big way in Western India.In Gujarat,people fly kites as colorful oblations to the Sun God.Kite flying competitions of international repute are organized.In Maharashtra,the women partake of haldi-kumkum,where turmeric and vermilion are applied by married women to each other’s forehead in an attempt to invoke the spirit of the Devi in them.Participating in the ceremony is supposed to ensure the well being of husbands.