10 Important Information about Makar Sankranti

10 Important Information about Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti, a significant festival in India, heralds the Sun’s transition into Capricorn, known as Makara Rashi, marking the commencement of the six-month Uttarayana period. It symbolizes the Sun’s northward journey, denoting the onset of longer days and the end of winter. While the traditional Indian calendar primarily relies on lunar positions, Sankranti stands out as a solar event. Set on a consistent date—usually 14th January, occasionally 15th—it’s a celebration of the Sun’s ascent into Makara Rashi at dawn. Let’s know 10 important information about Makar Sankranti.

1. Date and Zodiac Transition

Makar Sankranti is a Hindu festival celebrated annually on January 14 (January 15 in leap years). It marks the transition of the sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn, dedicated to the solar deity, Surya.

2. Multifaceted Festivity Across India

Known by various names, Makar Sankranti is celebrated across India: Magh Bihu in Assam, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Uttarayana in Gujarat, and more. It’s a time for social festivities, kite flying, bonfires, feasts, and multi-day celebrations.

3. Spiritual Observances

It’s a day of worship for Surya, Vishnu, and goddess Lakshmi, with rituals including bathing in sacred rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, and offerings of gratitude for prosperity and success.

4. Cultural Traditions and Significance

The making and sharing of sesame-based sweets symbolize unity despite individual differences. It’s an integral part of the Rabi crop season, signifying the end of agricultural labor and a time for families to bond.

5. Historical and Religious Context

Traceable to Vedic texts, it’s associated with the Gayatri Mantra and holds significance in Hindu scriptures. Makar Sankranti is linked to the birth of Narashansa, a predecessor to the final Avatar of Vishnu, Kalki.

6. Regional Names and Customs

Makar Sankranti is celebrated with unique names and customs across India and South Asian countries, ranging from Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh to Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Magh Bihu in Assam.

7. Duration and Rituals

The festivities extend over two to four days, each with distinct rituals and names. From Bhogi Panduga to Mattu Pongal, each day holds special significance in different regions.

8. Melas and Mass Pilgrimages

Makar Sankranti witnesses various melas or fairs, including the Kumbha Mela, attracting millions of pilgrims every 12 years. Other notable events include Magha Mela and Gangasagar Mela.

9. Diverse Celebrations

The festival is celebrated diversely across India, marked by holy dips, prayers to the Sun, and cultural practices like flying kites, symbolizing joy and togetherness.

10. Historical and Cultural Legacy

From Guru Amar Das’s observations to the commemoration of Sikh martyrs, Makar Sankranti carries historical and cultural legacies, including Tusu Mela in Jharkhand and Poush Mela in West Bengal.

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