Makar Sankranti is the celebration of the harvest season that people celebrate as a Thanksgiving to God. During this occasion, the farmers yield the crops from the field, and hence this becomes a great reason for celebration.
People understand that agriculture is a big part of our life which makes life possible. All the grains and food come from the field, which farmers make happen. Hence this is a day on which people show gratitude toward farmers, God, and mother nature.
Every year, Makar Sankranti festival comes on 14th January, which also marks the Sun entering the Northern hemisphere and the zodiac sign Capricorn. This holds spiritual significance for the Hindus. The Sun stays in the Northern hemisphere for six months which is also considered the morning of the Devas. When the Sun stays in the Southern hemisphere for six months, the period is considered the night of the Devas.
Also, people who leave their souls from their bodies during Uttarayan or when the Sun is in the Northern hemisphere, their souls attain salvation.
The Purana Belief
In many Puranas, the Sun is considered the father, and Saturn is the son. By entering the Capricorn zodiac sign, the father meets the son since Saturn is the Lord of Capricorn sign. On this day, Lord Vishnu defeated the demons and buried them under the Mandara Parvata. Hence the day signifies the morning of Devas and the victory of good over evil.
The festival is also mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. The story is related to Bhishma Pitamaha who was injured by Arjuna in the war. He was laid in the bed of arrows where he faced utter pain; however, the king chose the Uttarayan period to free his soul. This is because of the significance of Uttarayan that whichever soul leaves the body during this period attain the heavenly abode of God and gets free from the cycle of rebirth.
Makar Sankranti is also an important event in the Sikh community since people believe that their tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh got Moksha.
The festivity happens everywhere in India and in states like Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and more. In every state, the occasion is known by a different name, but the fervor and enthusiasm remain the same, which bonds the entire country into one vibe.
The celebrations happen all over India; however, the rituals vary a bit. People consider taking holy dips in the rivers like Ganga, Narmada, Godavari, and whichever holy river is near to them. After which, they pay respect to Sun by praying and expressing gratitude. People also visit temples and pray to their Gods and Goddesses.
Taking a holy dip in the river on Makar Sankranti purifies one’s soul and cleanses karma. This way, you become closer to attaining salvation and escape from the cycle of rebirth. Some people also mix some black sesame seeds in their bathing water and take a bath, in case they can’t go to any river.
How to Celebrate Makar Sankranti at Home?
- On the day, one should wake up early and take a dip in the river or bathe by after pouring some sesame seeds in the water.
- Wear new traditional clothes and visit a temple. One should pray to God and express gratitude wholeheartedly.
- One can also chant the Gayatri Mantra while praying to the Sun. Teach your children the importance of the day and ask them to chant the mantra.
- Welcome the rising Sun with water, flowers, and mantra.
- Prepare various delicacies such as khichdi, til ke laddu, coconut chikki, ganee ki kheer, and more as per your convenience.
- Meet your relatives and call them home; share the delicacies with them and enjoy the day together.
- Motivate kids to make the kites or buy one and get involved with them for flying the colorful kites high in the sky.
The International Kite Festival in Gujarat
The event is known as Uttarayan in Gujarat, which is considered as the international kite festival as well. in Gujarat, the grand manufacturing for the kites begin, and people visit from different corners of India to witness the colorful sky filled with kites.
Uttarayan also marks the beginning of the summer season, during which the farmers harvest the crops. As it marks the end of winter, the days start getting longer from here, and the nights become shorter. In Gujarat, a kite competition happens in which hundreds of people participate. People prepare foods like undhiyu, chikki, jalebi, and several other sweets and snacks.
The market is filled with a large crowd before the event on which people buy new clothes, decorations for home, and kite material to win the competition.
The celebration happens in various ways all over India; despite being unique in celebration and name, the event brings everyone together.