Makara Sankranti : The festival of rejuvenation of the body and spirit.
Makara Sankranti is a Hindu festival celebrated on 14th January every year in almost all parts of India though with cultural variations from place to place.
Makara Sankranti has the astrological significance that marks the entry of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makara Rashi) on its celestial path. This day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India when the days are starting to get bigger than nights. It is the time Sun changes its position to Uttarayan.
According to Hindu calendar is Makar Sankranti is a festival celebrated in the New Year for Hindus.
Legend behind the celebrations of Maker Sakranti:
According to Hindu Mythology, on this day Sun God visits the house of his son ShaniShani
Shani, literally means the one who moves very... , who is the Lard of Zodiac sign Capricorn (Makar Rashi). This day symbolizes the healthy 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.
According to another legend that It was on this day when Lord VishnuVishnu
Vishnu is one of the Supreme Gods of Hindus and is a part of Hindu Trinity,.. ended the ever increasing terror of the demons by finishing them off and burying their heads under the Mt. Mandara. It is the occasion that represents the end of negativities and the beginning of an era of righteous living.
One more legend related to Makar Sakranti: There was the King Sagar who had 60,000 sons. They all were burnt to ashes due to the curse of Sage Kapil.
King Bhagiratha, who survived his ancestors by doing great penance and requested Lord ShivaShiva
Shiva is one of the Supreme Gods of Hindu Trinity that ... to bring River GangaGanga
According to Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu in one of.... down on the Earth.
Further According to this legend there are 60,000 sons of King Sagar, It was near the present day Ganga Sagar. Makar Sakranti was the day when King Bhagirath finally did Tarpan with the Ganges water for his unfortunate ancestors and thereby liberated them from the curse. After visiting the Patala for the redemption of the curse of Bhagirath’s ancestors Gangaji finally merged in the Ocean. Even today a very big Ganga Sagar fair is organized every year on this day at the confluence of River Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. Since then Lakhs of devotees take a dip in the Ganges water and do Tarpan for their ancestors.
We salute such a great devotee & benefactor of his ancestors. One who can express such gratitude to his ancestors, work with tireless resolve to redeem the pride, pledges & resolves of his forefathers, alone possess a personality, which the history reveals to be a true benefactor of the Humanity.
There is another aspect of this story. The 60,000 cursed son of King Sagar. It represents our 60,000 negative thoughts of uncultured & blind ambitions. Redemption of such thoughts can be done by the the waters of River Ganga that has been brought down ‘to’ & later ‘from’ the Himalayas with great penance. This represents dedicated hard work to get the redeeming the Brahma- which alone enlightens, enthuses & enlivens the life of anyone.
Another well-known historical reference was given in the famous Hindu epic Mahabharata that great worrier BhishmaBhishma
In the epic Mahabharata, Bhishma was the eighth son of Kuru King Shantanu, who was blessed with wish-long life and had sworn to serve the ruling Kuru king..., declared his intent to leave his mortal body on this day. He had the boon of Ichha-Mrityu from his father, so he kept lying on the bed of arrows till this day and then left his mortal body on this day. It is believed that the person, who dies during the period of Uttarayana, gets salvation. So this day was seen as the auspicious day to start your journey or endeavors to the higher realms and beyond.
How people celebrate Maker Sakranti:
A big one-month long ‘Magha-Mela’ fair begins at Prayag (Allahabad) on this occasion. Apart from this devotees take a dip in the holy River Ganges at many places like
Haridwar Garh Mukteshwar in Uttar Pradesh, and Patna in Bihar and pray to the Sun God. They give donations to poor people.
On this day people of the North prepare Khichadi (a mixture of pulses and rice) which they first offer to God and then they eat it. Then they sing the beautiful song:
“Meethe Gug me mil gaya Til,
Udi Patang aur khil gaye Dil,
Jeevan me bani rahe Sukh aur Shanti,
Mubarak ho aapko Makar-Sankranti”
Similarly people of different parts of India are preparing traditional dishes on this day.
Many people fly kites on this day that represents thousands of their colorful oblations to the Sun God in the form of beautiful kites. This act stands as a metaphor for reaching to their beloved God, the one who represents the best. In the rural and coastal areas, cock fights are held and are a prominent event of the festival.
Whatsoever the way the people celebrate the festival, it rejuvenates their bodies and spirit.