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Indian Fast & Festivals

Makar Sankranti


It is a great festival to worship ‘Surya Dev’ or the Sun God and get His blessings. Makar Sankranti is a popular Hindu festival which is celebrated in multiple regions of India and also in many other parts of the world with great zeal and enthusiasm. Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. Makar Sankranti commemorates the beginning of a new harvest season. The movement of the Sun from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn zodiac known as Makar in Sanskrit, this occasion is named as Makar Sankranti in the Indian context.

Makar Sankranti, apart from a harvest festival, is also regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase in the Hindu faith called the ‘Uttarayan’. It is believed that any auspicious and sacred ritual can be sanctified in any Hindu family, this day onwards. Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights. In other words, Makar Sankranti marks the lowering of the intensity of the winter season and the beginning of a new harvest or spring season.

All over the country, Makar Sankranti is observed with great fanfare. However, it is celebrated with distinct names and rituals in different parts of the country. The importance of this day has been signified in the ancient epics like Mahabharata. So, apart from socio-geographical importance, this day also holds a historical and religious significance. As it is the festival of Sun God, and He is regarded as the symbol of divinity and wisdom, the festival also holds an eternal meaning to it.

Determination of Date

The day of entry of Sun in Makar Rashi as per Vedic Astrology, is celebrated as Makar Sankranti. In 2024, Makar Sankranti will be celebrated on 15th January.

How to Celebrate?

Makar Sankranti is related to the motion of the Sun in the zodiac. Sankranti is the time when the Sun moves from one zodiac sign to enter another zodiac sign. Sun changes its sign every month so there is a Sankranti every month. Makar Sankranti is the time when Sun enters in the sign Capricorn. With the transit of the Sun in the sign Capricorn it enters in the northern hemispheres of the celestial sphere. Sun transits in the southern hemisphere when it passes through the zodiac signs from Cancer to Sagittarius and it transits in the northern hemisphere when it transits from the zodiac signs Capricorn to Gemini. As per Muhurat Chintamani 16 minutes before the entry of Sun in any sign and 16 minutes after the Sun’s entry in any zodiac sign is called Punya Kaal of Sankranti. If Sun enters into a sign before midnight then the second half of the last day is Punya Kaal. When Sun enters into a sign after midnight then the first half of the next day will be Punya Kaal. If it enters exactly at midnight in a zodiac sign then the previous day as well as the next day will be Punya Kaal. If Sun enters into another sign after sunset then Punya Kaal will be on the next day.

According to Padma Purana the donations made on this day are very beneficial. Donate red clothes, wheat, jaggery, copper vessel, red flower, white sesame and coconut on this day.

Wake up early in the morning, have a bath. Wear clean clothes, sit on a red cloth and recite the seed mantra of Sun.

Makar Sankranti Vrat (Fast)
(This fast of Lord Sun is observed to get rid of troubles and to abstain from the cycle of rebirth)

It is believed that Yashoda donated Betel leaf (paan) on this day and as a result of it she got the most capable son as Lord Krishna. It is considered most auspicious day for donation. Even Greeks and Romans consider it as a great day of donation. This festival of Sun in India is celebrated in different forms like Lohri in Punjab, Pongal in South, Sankrant in UP and MP and Khichari in Bihar. It is believed that the Gods come to Earth on this day. One should have a holy dip in Ganga or any other sacred water body on this day.

Method of Observing Makar Sankranti Vrat

Festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the Krishna Pratipada of the Hindu Lunar month of Magha. Generally but not always, this day falls on the 14th January of every year. Have food one day before it and that too only once. On the day of Pratipada, offer Arghya to Surya Dev after having your bath. Donate Khichari to Brahmins and poor people. Read Makar Sankranti Vrata Katha.

Aarti Shri Surya Ji Ki

kashyap-nandan, om jay aditi nandan |
tribhuvan - timir - nikandan, bhakta-hridy-chandana ||
jay kashyap-nandan, om jay aditi nandan |

sapta-ashvarath rajit, ek chakradhari |
du:khhari, sukhkari, mans-mal-hari ||
jay kashyap-nandan, om jay aditi nandan |

sur - muni - bhusur - vandit, vimal vibhvshali |
agh-dal-dalan divakar, divya kiran mali ||
jay kashyap-nandan, om jay aditi nandan |

sakal - sukarm - prasvita, savita shubhkari |
vishva-vilochan mochan, bhav-bandhan bhari ||
jay kashyap-nandan, om jay aditi nandan |

kaml-samuh vikasak, nashak tray tapa |
sevat sahaj harat ati mansij-santapa ||
jay kashyap-nandan, om jay aditi nandan |

netra-vyadhi har suravar, bhu-pida-hari |
vrishti vimochan santat, parhit vratdhari ||
jay kashyap-nandan, om jay aditi nandan |

suryadev karunakar, ab karuna kijai |
har agyan-moh sab, tattvagyan dijai ||
jay kashyap-nandan, om jay aditi nandan |


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