Makar Sankranti – The Festival’s Importance in the Vedic Period
Every year on January 14th, India welcomes a wave of festive happiness that sweeps the country. With Makar Sankranti, the Harvest Festival, the country celebrates an end and a new beginning somewhere between golden colours and a blue sky enlivened by multicoloured kites.
Makar Sankranti: What Is It and Why Is It Celebrated?
Sankranti is the Vedic word for the passage of the Sun from one Rashi (zodiac constellation) to the next. As a result, each year has 12 Sankranti. The Makar Sankranti, also known as ‘Poush Sankranti,’ is the most auspicious of all, and it is one of the few Hindu festivals that follow the solar cycle. The Makar Sankranti celebration announces the start of the harvest season when fresh harvests are revered and joyfully distributed.
It marks the formal end of Winters, as the Sun begins its journey from the Dakshinayana (South) to the Uttarayana (North) hemispheres on this day. The day also celebrates the sun’s transit into Makar Raashi, which is both a religious and seasonal commemoration (the Capricorn zodiac sign).
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Makar Sankranti’s Historical Meaning and Ayurvedic Importance
According to Hindu traditions, Lord Vishnu conquered demons by removing their heads and burying them under a mountain on Makar Sankranti, representing the end of negativity and the beginning of righteousness and good intent to live well and prosper.
As a result, this day is ideal for Sadhana—spiritual practise or meditation—because the surroundings is rich with ‘Chaitanya,’ which means ‘cosmic intelligence.’
On the day of Makar Sakranti, it is stated in ancient texts that one should rise immediately before sunrise and take a bath for a pleasant and auspicious start to the day. A tiny amount of Til or Sesame Oil should also be added to your bathing water. After bathing, one must pray to the Sun by singing the Gayatri Mantra and performing Argya, which would be the act of presenting water to the Sun.
In Makar Sankranti, which God is worshipped?
Makar Sankranti is a special festival across the country, where Surya-the Sun God is worshipped and gratitude and prayers are offered. Sun stands for “Pratyaksha-Braham,” “a manifestation of the absolute,” awarding knowledge, spiritual light, and wisdom, and therefore Makar Sankranti is a special festival across the country, where Surya-the Sun God is worshipped and gratitude and prayers are offered.
Festive Customs: What Should We Do On Makar Sankranti?
Makar Sankranti is a festival that celebrates the consumption of freshly harvested grains that are first presented to the Gods and then consumed. Khichdi is light and readily digested food that Ayurveda recommends. Eating Khichdi has the meaning of preparing the body for the shift in season, from the cold winter air to the impending warmth of Spring. The body becomes susceptible to imbalances when the temperature varies from dry cool to shockingly mild. Khichdi is thus the ideal food for satisfying hunger even while giving important nutrition to the body.
Apart from the health advantages, creating and eating Khichdi on Makar Sankranti symbolises togetherness since the meal is prepared in a single pot with all of the components, including newly harvested rice, lentils, seasonal vegetables, and spices. It represents the cycle of life and regeneration, as well as the beginning of a new harvest year.
Tilgul Ladoos are sesame seed and jaggery sweetmeats. It comes from Maharashtrian tradition and is usually accompanied by the phrase “Tilgul ghya ani goad goad bola,” which means “consume these sesame seeds and jaggery and utter pleasant words.” Sweets are given out to symbolise connection, forgetting about bad memories, and just spreading sweetness. The scientific significance of these sweets is that sesame seeds keep the body warm and offer a good amount of oil, which is necessary to keep the body wet throughout the winter.
Flying a kite
Kite flying is one of the most popular Sizable portion Sankranti activities, particularly in the Gujrat area. When thinking about Makar Sankranti, the sound of ‘Kai Po Che’ against the lip-smacking sweets spread out on the terrace is almost an instinctual vision that leaps to mind. The kite-flying practice is also said to have originated as a health-promoting exercise. The goal was to bathe in the benefits of Vitamin D by exposing oneself to the first light of the approaching Summer sun early in the morning.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days for Hindus, and it is celebrated with considerable dedication, fervour, and gaiety in practically every part of the country in a variety of cultural forms. It’s a harvest celebration, after all. Makar Sankranti is arguably the only Indian festival that takes place on the same day each year, on January 14th (with just a few exceptions when it is celebrated either on the 13th or 15th of January).
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