Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan or Lohri or Pongal is Celebrated on the Fourteen Day of the Month of January, every year. Since, this is a festival, which is calculated as per the Solar Cycle, it falls on the same day every year. Makar refers to the Capricon Zodiac sign and Sankranti means shift.
Makar Sankranti is not only Celebrated in India but also in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malayasia. In Mahabharata the great warrior Bhism Pitamah opted for Makar Sankranti to leave his body, as he believed that the people who die during Uttarayan directly go to heaven unlike people who are born during Dakshinayan, who are reborn.
Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival, which is celebrated on the same day across the Country, from North to South, from East to West India. Different states Celebrate it in different ways. Some States celebrates it as Makara Mela, Makara Chaula, Suggi Habba, Makara Sankramana, Makara Sankranti:, Maghi Sankranti,Thai Pongal, Uzhavar Thirunal, Uttarayan, Maghi, Maghi Bihu, Bhogali Bihu,Shishur Saenkraa,Sakraat, Khichdi, Poush Sangkranti, Lohri.
Read More: Why we don’t wear black during festivals ?
During the olden times, when India was purely an Agriculture based Economy, people celebrated every harvest season. Harvest season and a new crop meant the arrival of wealth and prosperity.
Astrological Significance of Makar Sankranti
Saturn rules the Zodiac sign of Capricon. Sun during this point of time comes to stay with his son, Shani. Therefore, it signifies that we need to forget our past grudges and build better and stronger relationship with our near and dear ones, in the coming year. So now we know, why we say in Marathi, Til Gul ghya ani God God Bola.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most seasoned solstice celebrations and falls on the equinox, day and night on this day are accepted to be similarly long. Post the celebration, it is formally the start of spring or the onset of Indian summer and the days turn out to be longer, and evenings shorter.
Why do we fly Kites on Makar Sankranti ?
Kite-flying in long time past days was by and large done in the early hours of the morning, when the sun rays were not that Harmful. The basic idea was to take a long Sun Bath and also making the same activity more entertaining. The Benefits of Early Morning Sun are immense and it is said to cure a lot of deficiencies. During those times, people did not consciously come out for Sun Bath during Winter Season, like they do today. During Winter Season, we are also prone to a lot of Infections and Frequent Cough and Cold and therefore staying out in Early Morning Sunlight also helped us to fight the infections and deficiencies.
Why do women apply Haldi Kumkum on this Day ?
In some parts of India, it is also believed that performing religious ceremonies such as Haldi Kumkum on this day invites emissive waves from the Adi-Shakti (God) of this Universe. This is believed to strengthen the impression of Shagun devotion in the mind of followers and worshippers and improves spiritual connections with God.
To celebrate this day, women also organise an event known as ‘haldi kumkum’, during which they invite other women over and apply turmeric (haldi) and vermilion (kumkum) to their foreheads, dab perfume (attar) on their forearms, sprinkle rose-water over them and offer them a sweet, a flower, a coconut and a small gift. This ceremony is for the well-being of the applier of the haldi kumkum and the ‘appliee’. Mostly popular in the western states of India, the period of Makar Sankranti is considered favourable for spiritual practice and any gift given during this period is equivalent to offering and receiving the grace of the Divine on both sides.
The ceremony is believed to have started in the reign of the Peshwas, when the ladies of the royal families would invite their married friends over and offer expensive gifts of saris and jewelry. While the men were away fighting battles for glory and power, the women of the house hardly ever got a chance to leave the house. The haldi kumkum ceremony gave them an opportunity to do what every woman loves – dress up, go out, meet other women and bond with them over choice delicacies (kairi panha and vatli dal in this case) and even come away with a little gift; which could be used either in the kitchen or for personal adornment. And they got to do this not once but several times over – depending on how many friends and relatives one could invite and be invited in their turn. The festivities begin from Sankranti and continue well into February, so this would have been a busy, happy period in the lives of many women then.
Why do we consume Sesame and Jaggery ?
The reason for eating these laddoos is that, sesame contains oil based constituents in each grain of sesame. During the virus season, skin gets dry and flaky and requires dampness for keep it smooth and ensured. Besides, til is known to induce heat in the body which makes it a perfect sweet for winters, besides it also is anti-aging, good for digestive health, protects against cancer, improves cardiovascular health. Besides jaggery is rich in iron, magnesium, and potassium that improves digestive health. As digestion tends to get affected during winter, eating tilgul will give you perfect nourishment, taste, keep you full and add to the festive mood.
Why do we wear black on Makar Sankranti ?
As the sun reaches the tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere, the temperature in the northern hemisphere falls to a great extent. It is extremely cold in northern countries which leads to a dip in energy. Black is known to absorb warmth and white reflects it. Hence, people in Maharashtra wear black to keep themselves warm.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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