14th/15th January, 2023 - Makar Sankranti Festival
Sun enters the Capricorn sign on 14th January. In south India, the Tamil year begins from this date. This festival is known as “Thai Pongal” in South India. Sindhi people call this festival as “Tirmauri”. This festival is known as “Makar Sankranti” in North India and “Uttarayan” in Gujarat. Other names of this festival are as follows: Lohri in Punjab, Uttarayani in Uttarakhand, Uttarayan in Gujarat, Pongal in Kerala, Khichadi Sankranti in Garhwal.
Beliefs Associated with Makar Sankranti
- According to one of the beliefs, lord Shiva had showered his blessings on his devotees, especially on sages, on this day. Some people believe that lord Shiva had donated self-knowledge to lord Vishnu on this day.
- The counting of days of deities begins from this day. When Sun is in Dakshinayan, the period is called as night of deities, and 6 months of Uttarayan is called as day. Six months of human beings is equal to one day and one night of deities.
- Apart from this, it is also believed that Sun goes to meet his son Saturn on this day. This meeting of Sun and Saturn is celebrated as “Makar Sankranti”.
- Everybody is aware of the belief that according to the saga of Mahabharat, Bhishm Pitamah had chosen the day of Makar Sankranti, i.e., for getting rid of his body.
- It is said that on this day, Ganga followed Bhagirath to reach the hermitage of saint Kapil and had fallen into the ocean. That is why, bathing in river Ganga and making donations on shrines is considered especially significant.
Makar Sankranti: The Symbol of New Life
The weather starts changing from the day of Makar Sankranti. This is the reason behind shortening of nights and lengthening of days. Summer season begins due to the movement of Sun towards northern hemisphere. Heat and light of Sun starts increasing. As a result of this, there is a development of awareness and energy among the creatures. The living beings hibernating in their homes, burrows or dens due to cold weather start coming out. Color and aroma start spreading in the nature.
Specialty of Makar Sankranti Til
Til is used on a large scale in the recipes of Makar Sankranti. The aroma of the items made of Til could be felt everywhere on the day of Makar Sankranti. Eating and donating Til on this day is considered auspicious. Massage of Til, using Til oil, bath of mixture of water and Til, drinking the mixture of Til and water, Til-Havan, eating and donating the items of Til, reduce the sins and increase the auspicious fruits.
Donation of Til, i.e., the karak product of Saturn, and jaggery, i.e., the karak product of Sun is considered highly auspicious. Exchanging these things on increases mutual affection, sweetness and cooperation. Makar Sankranti festival unites the people together.