Sankranthi, or Sankranti (Sanskrit: मकर संक्रान्ति , is a festival that signifies the beginning of the harvest season for the farmers of Indian Sub-Continent. Sanskrit (sa संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, for short sa संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam) is a historical A festival is an event usually and ordinarily staged by a local community which centers on some unique aspect of that community A farmer is a person who raises living organisms for food or raw materials This is a harvest festival celebrated not only all over India but other South East Asian Counties as well. India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country
Makara Sankranti has special geo-agri-economical significance to people of Indian Sub-Continent. Makara Sankaranti is about transition of Sun into Capricorn on it's celestial path. The Sun (Sol is the Star at the center of the Solar System. (Sankarnti being Sanskrit for transition ). Sanskrit (sa संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, for short sa संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam) is a historical This is significant considering Winter Solstice marking gradual increase of duration of day. The winter solstice occurs at the instant when the Sun 's position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the Also traditionally this has been one of many (considering vastness of land and climatic variation ) harvest days.
The day on which the sun begins its journey northwards is referred to as Makara Sankranti. Sankramana means "to commence movement" and hence the name Makara Sankranti given to one of the largest, most auspicious, but varied festivals in the Indian subcontinent. It usually falls in the middle of January. Because of the geography and size of India, this festival is celebrated for innumerable reasons depending on the climate, agricultural environment, cultural background and position in the context of north or south of India.
Makara Sankranti is also to honour, worship and to pay respect to the world mother, Saraswati Maa. At the start of this significant event, there is also worship for the departed ancestors. The period is also considered an ideal time for aspirants to satisfy "the goals of life".
Very significant however, the day preceding Makara Sankranti is when people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. Sweets in generous quantities are prepared and distributed. Very important though, cooking is done by women on this occasion. Families are joined together for this occasion without fail. Brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts as affirmation of their filial love. The landlord gives gifts of food, clothes and money to their workforce. On the day after Makara Sankranti, the animal kingdom is remembered and in particular, the cows. Young girls feed the animals, birds and fishes as a symbol of sharing. Travel is considered to be inappropriate, as these days are dedicated for re-union of the families. Pongal in this sense demonstrates their strong cultural values as well as a time for change and transformation. And finally, the Gurus seek out their devotees to bestow blessings on them.
When one examines the many rituals, rites and the piousness attached to Makara Sankranti, it is very obvious that this festival has deep spiritual significance, rooted in an unshakable divine history. Makara Sankranti has similarities to many, if not all, of the major festivals such as Shivratri, Saraswati Jayanti, Holi, Nau Ratum, Hanuman Jayanti, Raksha Bandhan, Pitri Paksk, Dusshera, Divali and Kartik. This is clearly an indication that all the major festivals are related and are not stand alone or isolated events.
Makara Sankranti clearly identifies a period of enlightenment, peace, prosperity and happiness followed by a period of darkness, ignorance and viciousness with immense sorrow. The six months of north movement of the sun is followed by six months of southern movement. This is the same analogy as the Kingdom of Rama that lasts for half the world cycle followed by the Kingdom of Rawan for the other half of the cycle. The kingdom of Rama is called heaven, paradise, Rama rajya, the day of Brahma or the day of Shiva and the period of happiness. The kingdom of Rawan is called hell, Rawan rajya, the night of Brahma or the night of Shiva or the period of sorrow. The northern six months movement is symbolic of the golden and silver ages, whereas the six months southern movement represents the Dark Ages of copper and iron. The celebrations cited above are similar to that of Shivratri when Shiva incarnates and descends on earth when there is irreligiousness, unrighteousness and lawlessness to preserve the righteous, destroy the evil and re-establish dharma.
Secondly, the worship of the world mother Saraswati in Makara Sankranti is similar to the role played by her when Shiva incarnates. Saraswati Maa was able to imbibe and inculcate the elevated directions of the Gita and attain the highest level of purity. She assisted in teaching this knowledge and helped others in removing obstacles and difficulties in their spiritual path. For this service and effort, she earned the name as the goddess of knowledge and the remover of obstacles and difficulties.
This worship of Saraswati is for the same reason that they celebrate Vasanta Panchami that represents the first day of spring and falls in January-February. People are dressed in yellow that signifies auspiciousness and spirituality and it represents the ripening of the spring crops. The Bengalis call Vasanta Panchami Saraswati Puja, where her image is finally immersed in the holy Ganges after parading for seven days with great pomp and splendour. Its background is based on Shiva who destroyed the demon Tarakasura to ashes. Ashes are symbolic of the conquest of purity over impurity which is the essence of Holika. These are but the same reasons that Saraswati is worshipped at Makara Sankranti. Vasanta Navaratri has the same significance to Makara Sankranti or that of Vasanta Panchaimi in terms of the time, reasons and seasons.
Thirdly, the disposal of derelict things is similar to Holika. This is where all old habits, the vices, attachment to relations and materials things are sacrificed in the sacrificial fire of the knowledge of Rudra, known as the "Rudra Gita Gyan Yagya. It represents realization, transformation and purification of the soul by imbibing and inculcating divine virtues.
Fourthly, the lavish distributions of sweets are similar to that of the fourth day of Diwali called Ankhood day. Divali again represents the conquest of virtues over the vices. The giving of gifts to sisters is that element of the fifth day of Divali called Bhai Dooj. Sisters worship their brothers by doing aarti and brothers adore their sisters by giving gifts. This has similarities to Raksha Bandhan. The strong sense of values of Makara Sankranti is the same required for the observance of Divali.
Fifthly, the worship and remembrance of departed ancestors is similar to the period of Pitri Paksh that precedes the second Nau Ratum. Dusshera follows immediately after and is symbolic of the burning the Rawan or mayic possessions. This again is done the day before Makara Sankranti and is called "Bhogi" day when all old and warn out possessions are destroyed. Pongal represents a time of change and transformation. This is the festival of Kartik that represents the change from kalpa to kalpa as humanity is transformed by inculcating the shrimat of the Gita. All these events represent the change from old too new. This is the reason many celebrate this event of Makara Sankranti as the beginning of the New Year.
In conclusion therefore, the spiritual significance of Makara Sankranti is the remembrance of the incarnation and descent of Lord Shiva on earth to protect the virtuous, destroy the evil, re-establish dharma and the New World of the golden age.
Since the festival is celebrated in mid winter, food prepared for this festival is such that it keeps the body warm and gives high energy. Laddu of til made with Jaggery is a specialty of the festival. Laddu or Laddoo ( Hindi: लड्डू Urdu: لڈو is an Indian sweet that is often prepared to celebrate festivals or household events such In the western Indian state of Maharashtra it is called 'Tilgul'. Maharashtra ( Marathi: mahārāṣṭra, IPA) is a state located on the western coast of India.
In Karnataka it is called 'Yellu-Bella'. Yellu means 'til' or Sesame seeds and 'Bella' is Jaggery. A mixture of sesame seeds, jaggery, coconut and groundnuts are distributed to relatives and friends. 'Yellu-Bella' is normally distributed by women. Cattle are decorated with various colours and are made to jump over a bon-fire.
It is a three day festival in Andhra Pradesh:
The first day of festival is Bhogi. At dawn people light up fire with several old articles in their house. The second day is Sankranti, the big festival, when everyone wears new clothes and pray to their favourite God by offering them sweets. Kanuma Panduga (Kanuma) is less celebrated but is an integral part of Sankranti culture. Sankranti usually represents all the three days together. It is celebrated in almost every village with adventurous games in South India. Whether it is the cock fights in Andhra, Bull fighting in Tamil Nadu or Elephant Mela in Kerala, there is huge amount of illegal betting but the so called tradition continues to play a major role in the festival. Another notable feature of the festival in South India is the Haridas who moves around begging for rice wishing luck to the household. Rangoli competitions too are a common sight. The entire month from mid-December to sankranthi is celebrated with giant rangolis in front of the house which are drawn only at late night for the entire month. For all other days of the year, rangoli is typically drawn in mornings only. Sankranthi is also celebrated by the huge Telugu diaspora worldwide, especially United States, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Europe. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the For the biogeographical region see Malesia Malaysia (məˈleɪʒə or /məˈleɪziə/ is a country that consists of thirteen states and The Republic of South Africa (also known by other official names) is a country located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa Singapore The same festival is celebrated throughout the country under other names such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Lohri in Punjab. Kanuma, which is also considered a major part of sankranti lacking the pompousness associated with makara, is celebrated by cleaning and praying the equipment used by the household ranging from weapons to utensils.
The auspicious day of Sankranthi is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh for three consecutive days. During this time one can experience the cultural greatness of the region. Every village and town in the province is decorated with drawings. The colorful drawings are known as muggulu and are usually found in front of the houses. Woman enjoy making these drawings and every year they try to out do themselves.
Budabukkalavallu, Haridaslulu, Gangireddulavallu, and people decorated in mythological costumes visit each and every house during the festival. As per the tradition, they are honoured and given money. Flying kites is another important part of the festival. There is even a competition of kite flying. In the rural and coastal areas, cock fights are held and is a prominent event of the festival.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days for the Hindus and is celebrated in almost all parts of India in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion. Millions of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar (point where the river Ganga meets the Bay of Bengal) and Prayag and pray to the Sun God (Surya). Allahabad ( Hindi: इलाहाबाद Urdu: الہ آباد Ilāhābād) is a city in the north Indian state of Uttar In Hinduism, Surya ( Devanagari: सूर्य sūrya, lit "the Supreme Light" Malay: Suria; Thai: It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of India as Pongal, and in Punjab as Lohri and Maghi. Thai Pongal (தைப்பொங்கல் is a Harvest festival equivalent to a Thanksgiving event celebrated by Tamils across the world Punjab (ਪੰਜਾਬ पंजाब pəɲdʒaːb is a state in northwest India. Lohri is the Indian version of an annual thanksgiving day and an extremely popular harvest festival in India, especially Northern India
In the western Indian state of Gujarat, the celebrations are even bigger. People offer thousands of their colorful oblations to the Sun in the form of beautiful kites. The act stands as a metaphor for reaching to their beloved God, the one who represents the best. Makar Sankranthi also happens to be the day on which Bhishma, the grand sire of Pandavas and Kauravas from the epic Mahabharata voluntarily left his mortal coil. Bhishma: One of the strongest characters of the Mahabharata. He was the great-uncle of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas A unparalleled archer he once In the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, the Pandava (or Pandawa brothers ( Sanskrit: पाण्डव pāṇḍavaḥ are the five acknowledged sons of The term Kaurava ( Sanskrit:कौरव is a Sanskrit term that means a descendant of Kuru, a legendary king who is the ancestor of many of the characters This day is also very special for women of southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Unmarried women here pray in hope of getting a good husband or for longevity of their husbands, in case of married women.
Sankranti is celebrated all over Southeast Asia with some regional variations:
Makar Sankranti is the day when the Sun God begins its ascendancy and entry into the Northern Hemisphere. Geography Northern India lies mainly on continental India and a very small part of it lies on the Indian peninsula Himachal Pradesh ( Hindi: हिमाचल प्रदेश Punjabi: ਹਿਮਾਚਲ ਪ੍ਰਦੇਸ਼ pronounced) is a state in the Lohri is the Indian version of an annual thanksgiving day and an extremely popular harvest festival in India, especially Northern India Punjab (ਪੰਜਾਬ पंजाब pəɲdʒaːb is a state in northwest India. Lohri is the Indian version of an annual thanksgiving day and an extremely popular harvest festival in India, especially Northern India This article refers to the region in the Indian subcontinent. Bihar ( Hindi:बिहार Urdu: بہار bɪhaːr) is a state in eastern India. Sankranti is a national festival in India. The word is derived from sat and kranti, meaning "good movement Assam) ( Assamese: অসম Ôxôm) is a northeastern state of India with its capital at Dispur, a suburb of the city Bihu denotes a set of three different largely secular festivals of Assam. West Bengal ( Bengali: পশ্চিমবঙ্গ Poshchim Bônggo poʃtʃim bɔŋgo is a state in eastern India. Sankranthi, or Sankranti ( Sanskrit: मकर संक्रान्ति, is a Festival that signifies the beginning of the harvest season for Orissa (ଓଡ଼ିଶା is a state located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. History (For detailed history please read the respective articles of the three western states Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat) Parts of Gujarat Gujarat (ગુજરાત Gujǎrāt, pronounced) is a state in western India. Rājasthān ( Devanāgarī: राजस्थान raːdʒəst̪ʰaːn is the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area For the kite-flying festival see Makar Sankranti Uttarāyana (उत्तरायन is the six month period between Makar Sankranti Maharashtra ( Marathi: mahārāṣṭra, IPA) is a state located on the western coast of India. Sankranti is a national festival in India. The word is derived from sat and kranti, meaning "good movement South India is the area encompassing India 's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union Tamil Nadu ( Tamil:, Country of the Tamils, t̪ɐmɨɻ n̪aːɽɯ is one of the 28 states of India. Thai Pongal (தைப்பொங்கல் is a Harvest festival equivalent to a Thanksgiving event celebrated by Tamils across the world Karnataka (ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ pronounced) is a state in the southern part of India Sabarimala ( Malayalam: ശബരിമല Kannada: ಶಬರಿಮಲೆ, Tamil: சபரி மைல Telugu: శబరిమల) is a Sankranthi, or Sankranti ( Sanskrit: मकर संक्रान्ति, is a Festival that signifies the beginning of the harvest season for Nepal (नेपाल) is a Landlocked country in South Asia. The Tharu people are Indigenous people living in the Surkhet Valley in the west mountain region Chitwan Valley Dang ValleyDeukhuri ValleySindhuli and Udyapur Maghe sankranti is a Nepalese festival observed in the month of January on the first day of the month of Magh, bringing an end to the ill-omened month of The Kingdom of Thailand (ˈtaɪlænd ราชอาณาจักรไทย, râːtɕʰa-ʔaːnaːtɕɑ̀k-tʰɑj The Thai New Year (สงกรานต์ Songkran, from Sanskrit sankrānti "astrological passage" is celebrated every year from April Laos (ˈlɑːoʊs or /ˈlaʊs/ officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a Landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma Burma, officially the Union of Myanmar ( pjìdàunzṵ mjàmmà nàinŋàndɔ̀ is the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia. Thingyan ( is the Burmese New Year Water Festival and usually falls around mid-April (the Burmese month of Tagu) Sun for Hindus stands for Pratyaksha Brahman - the manifest God, who symbolizes, the one, non-dual, self-effulgent, glorious divinity blessing one and all tirelessly. Sun is the one who transcends time and also the one who rotates the proverbial wheel of time. The famous Gayatri Mantra, which is chanted everyday by every faithful Hindu, is directed to Sun God to bless them with intelligence & wisdom. This is an article dedicated to Gayatri Mantra or sacred religious chant common to Hinduism and Brahmoism. Sun not only represents God but also stands for an embodiment of knowledge & wisdom. Lord Krishna reveals in Gita that this manifested divinity was his first disciple, and we all know it to be indeed a worthy one too. Krishna (कृष्ण in Devanagari kṛṣṇa in IAST, ˈkr̩ʂɳə in classical Sanskrit is a deity worshiped across many traditions of Hinduism No Sundays for the Sun, may be because one who revels in its very 'being', the very essence of his own Self, is always in the Sunday mood.
The co-relation of cosmic events with individual life is one of the most astounding traits of Hindu Masters. Once this co-relation is brought about these cosmic events become instrumental in reminding us of the best which we cherish and value. Sun is the most glorious and important cosmic body, thus every sun-centric event becomes an important spiritual, religious & cultural event in India.
Many Melas or fairs are held on Makar Sankranti the most famous being the Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years at one of four holy locations, namely Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nashik. Mela is a Sanskrit word meaning 'gathering' or 'to meet' It is used in the Indian subcontinent for all sizes of gathering and can be religious commercial cultural Kumbh Mela ( Devanagari: कुम्भ मेला is a mass Hindu Pilgrimage. WikipediaWikiProject Indian cities for details --> Haridwar (also spelled Hardwar Hindi: हरिद्वार भारत) is a holy city and Allahabad ( Hindi: इलाहाबाद Urdu: الہ آباد Ilāhābād) is a city in the north Indian state of Uttar WikipediaWikiProject Indian cities for details --> Ujjain ( Hindi:उज्जैन (also known as Ujain, Ujjayini, Avanti http//wwwmapsofindiacom/maps/maharashtra/roads/nashik_roadjpg Nashik (नाशिक The Magh Mela (or mini-Kumbh Mela held annually at Prayag) and the Gangasagar Mela (held at the head of the Ganges River, where it flows into the Bay of Bengal). The Ganges (ˈgænʤiːz also Ganga, Devanāgarī: hi गंगा in most Indian languages) is the major river in the Indian subcontinent The Bay of Bengal is a bay that forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean.
Makara Sankranti is celebrated in Kerala at Sabarimala where the Makara Jyothi is visible followed by the Makara Vilakku celebrations. Sabarimala ( Malayalam: ശബരിമല Kannada: ಶಬರಿಮಲೆ, Tamil: சபரி மைல Telugu: శబరిమల) is a Makarajyoti is the celestial star which is worshipped by the pilgrims