Sankranti, one among the innumerable festivals India celebrates. Sankranti celebrates the changes in the moment of God's sun to Capricorn zodiac sign, which marks the start of Uttarayan period.
India is blessed with innumerable festivals with a particular significance and great meaning in them. As it’s the start of year, it begins with Makar Sankranti, the biggest festival; also called as the festival of gratitude, the festival of kites, the festival of harvesting, the herald of spring (seasonal), festival of Sun God(religious). It is mostly considered as commencement of movement of Sun transits from one zodiac sign (Sagittarius) to the other (Capricorn) and also termed as start date of Uttrayan period as the sun god begins his journey northwards which lasts for about 6 months and after this, he starts his journey southwards for 6 months. The transition or moment of lord Surya is termed as Sankranti. It is celebrated all over India with various names and customs.
Makar Sankranti comes under solar month of Makara and lunar month of Magha as per the Hindu calendar. It's unlike the lunar festivals, as it’s a solar festival and beginning of longer days of winter (i.e., the start of longer day timings) to an end and start of spring.
Sankranti is not just a festival but much more. Thus, let's understand the real significance and spirit of this festival now.
When is Makar Sankranti 2022? (date & time)
14th January 2022 (Friday) – Makar Sankranti
From 2:12 pm to 5:45 pm on Jan 14, 2022 (3 hours) - Punya Kaal Muhurat
From 02:43 PM to 04:28 PM on Jan 14, 2022 (1 hour 45 minutes) - Maha Punya Kaal Muhurat
02:43 pm – Makara Sankranti moment (commencement of sun moment)
For south India:
13th January 2022 : Mukkanti Ekadasi,
14th January 2022 : Bhogi
15th January 2022: Sankranti, Shani Trayodasi, Pitru Devata Ardahana (worship of Pitru Devatas)
16th January 2022: Kanuma, Pournami
For North India:
January 13, 2022 – Lohri/ Bhogi Pandigai
January 14, 2022 – Makar Sankranti
January 15, 2022 – Kanuma Panduga
January 16, 2022 – Mukkanuma
Stories related to Makar Sankranti:
Lord Shani is the son of Lord Surya, but had a despiteful relationship. On this auspicious day, father visits son as it’s the zodiac sign of God Shani, Capricorn to make a fresh start for a beginning as their conflicts resolved, relationships improved. It is celebrated as festival as a day of new beginnings.
A popular belief is that Makara Sankranti is marked as day of victory to lord Vishnu over the asuras that he ended the distress by asuras on prithivi Lok by ending their lives and buried under mandara parvat. Thus, this day marks as victory of righteousness over impiety.
In Bhagavad Gita, lord Krishna says whoever leaves their body during uttarayan period which starts with Makar Sankranti will attain salvation in the Bhagavad-gītā, verse 8.5, and also mentions whoever services mankind and prays lord will also attain salvation even if they leave their body in Dakshinayan.
According to Demigods, our one year is their one day, and this day starts with Makar Sankranti itself. The uttarayan period (6 months) is day and Dakhsinayan period (6 months) is night for the gods. They start the day by bathing and meditating. So, this day is considered for doing charity works, chanting the names of lords and bathing in holy rivers.
It is believed that, the great Bhishma pithama who had got a blessing from him father of wish death left his body on Sankranti day as it is the start of Uttarayan period. So, it is believed that, uttarayan period is the best period to sacrifice the body.
The other story is about Mata Yashoda and Lord Shri Krishna. It was believed that Yashoda Mata kept fast to get a boon of having Lord Shri Krishna as her son.
One more, the story of Gangawatran; Ganga and Bhagirath Muni/ King Bhagirath. On this day, the holy Ganges came to earth following Bhagirath after pleasing lord Shiva to meet the ocean to perform Tarpanam to his ancestors. Now, the conjunction point of Ganga and Bay of Bengal is called as GangaSagar where devotees dip and pray for salvation and happiness in life.
Significance of Makar Sankranti:
This day is marked as a divine tribute to lord Surya as it is known as day of blessings with freshness and positivity in life.
Sun enters into Capricorn zodiac sign on this day, which marks a great and major changes in position and fate of all other zodiac signs till next Sankranti.
Sankranti is said to have great importance for sages and yogis as it is an auspicious day for beginnings in their spiritual journey and most of them consider this as the best day to forget the past and go ahead in life.
This day is a special festival for farmers as they harvest the first batch of food grains and ask God for blessings to give good health and wealth throughout the year. They cook this first harvest as a sweet using Jagger and sesame and milk.
On Sankranti day, khar mas come to an end as most of the people try to end their karmas and any forbidden activities on this day as it’s an auspicious day. After this day many celebrations begins.
This festival is marked as a festival of truth, virtue and religion as people consider that night is symbol of sin, false and wrong doings and day as symbol of truth, virtue and religion. Thus, uttarayan is day time for gods and demigods, and this day is a start of it, it is considered as a benefitting and fruitful period of the year.
On this day, in the temple of Lord Jagannath, the Trinity is dressed in a religious costume of Makar Chaurashi and a Bela is also organized.
The special celebration and one common thing about this festival across the country is Kite flying. On this day, eyes goes on feast to enjoy the kite flying skills. Kites flying is fun act but has a great hidden meaning in it which says- as kites fly high in the sky, they represent the human beings by saying thank you to all the gods for their blessings.