தை பொங்கல் - मकर संक्रान्ति - మకర సంక్రాంతి - Rasi Palan 2013 | Mesham Aries | Capricorn Makaram

Makar Sankranti (Assamese: মকৰ সংক্রান্তি |  Bengali: মকর সংক্রান্তি |  Hindi & Sanskrit: मकर संक्रान्ति | Kannada: ಮಕರ ಸಂಕ್ರಾಂತಿ, | Malayalam: മകര സാന്‍ക്രാന്തി |  Marathi: मकरसंक्रांत | Oriya: ମକର ସଂକ୍ରାନ୍ତି, Tamil: தைப்பொங்கல், |Telugu: మకర సంక్రాంతి)

Makar Sankranti is derived from Sanskrit language where Makar (or) Makar Rashi  means the Zodiac Sign: Capricorn and Sankranti reflects “Transition”.  The day marks Suns transit into Makara Rashi and is also considered the  beginning of Uttarayana , an auspicious 6 month long tenure in Hindu Calender. Makar Sankranti comes under Magha month and Shishir Season of  Hindu Calender.  After this day, the days start becoming longer and warmer,  thus the chill of winter in on decline.

Makar Sankranti 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 northern movement of the sun is followed by six months of southern movement.

12 Sankranti’s per 12 Zodiac signs:

There is a Sankranti every month when the sun passes from one zodiac sign to the next. There are twelve signs of the zodiac, and thus there are twelve sankranti’s as well. Each of these sankranti’s  (transition) has its own relative importance, yet two of these are given most significance

Mesh Sankranti  (Aries) : Also known as Pana Sankranti and Maha Vishnu Sankranti, marks the begining of traditional Hindu Solar Calender.

Makar Sankranti (Capricorn) : Transition of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn, during the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere.

Legends & Religious Significance:

- According to the Puranas, on this day Surya (Sun) visits the house of his son Shani (Saturn), who is the keeper of the Makar rashi(Zodiac: Capricorn). Though this father and Son do not ordinarily get along, lord Surya (Sun) makes it a point to meet each other on this day symbolizing imporance between a father and Son relationship. Traditionally, it emphasizes responsiblity of a son towards his father.

It was on this day when Lord Vishnu ended the ever increasing terrorism of the Asuras by finishing them off and burying their heads under the Mandar Parvat. So this occasion also represents the end of negativities and beginning of an era of righteous living.

From Makar Sankranti starts the day of Uttarayana or Devayana (“day” of Devatas (gods)). While dakshinayana is said to be the ‘night’ of devatas, so most of the auspicious things are done during this time.

Another well-known reference of this day came when the great grandsire of Mahabharata fame, Bhishma, declared his intent to leave his mortal coil on this day. He had the boon of Ichha-Mrityu from his father, so he kept lying on the bed of arrows till this day and then left his mortal coil on Makar Sankranti day. It is believed that the person, who dies during the period of Uttarayana, becomes free from transmigration.

Maharaj Bhagirath, performed great penance to bring Gangaji down on the earth for the redemption of 60,000 sons of Maharaj Sagar, who were burnt to ashes at the Kapil Muni Ashram, near the present day Ganga Sagar. It was on this day that Bhagirath finally did tarpan with the Ganges water for his unfortunate ancestors and thereby liberated them from the curse. After visiting the Patala for the redemption of the curse of Bhagirath’s ancestors Gangaji finally merged in the Sagar. Even today a very big Ganga Sagar Mela is organized every year on this day at the confluence of River Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. Thousands of Hindus take dip in the water and offer tarpan for their ancestors.

Sikhs celebrate this day as Maghi. The tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh tore the Beydaava written by 40 Sikhs and gave them Mukhti on this day. These 40 Sikhs later came to be known as 40 Mukhtas.

Cultures , Rituals and Festive.

Throughout India, the festive celebrations are very colorful and even competitive. 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. In the rural and coastal areas, cock fights are held and is a prominent event of the festival. Kite flying, Cock fights and showing might of their cattle is almost a competetive sport.

Makara Sankranti is also to honour, worship and to pay respect to Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge). At the start of this significant event, there is also worship for the departed ancestors.

Due to India’s diversified cultural background, agricultural environment and geography, Makar Sankranti festival is celebrated differently by region and has its own unique name at locals. Across India, Millions take dip in places like Ganga Saga, Prayag, Godavari.. praying to lord Surya (the Sun God).

Makara Sankranti (మకర సంక్రాంతి), is celebrated for four days in Andhra Pradesh outlined as follows:
 •Day 1 – Bhogi (భోగి)
 •Day 2 – Makara Sankranti (మకర సంక్రాంతి-పెద్ద పండుగ)
 •Day 3 – Kanuma (కనుము)
 •Day 4 – Mukkanuma (ముక్కనుము)

The day preceding Makara Sankranti is called Bhogi(భోగి) and this is when people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. At dawn people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful. The disposal of derelict things 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.

In many families, infants and children are showered with fruit called “Regi Pandlu”, that is the Indian jujube fruit. It is believed that doing this would protect the children from evil eye. Sweets in generous quantities are prepared and distributed. It is a time for families to congregate. Brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts as affirmation of their filial love. Landlords give gifts of food, clothes and money to their workforce.

The second day is Makara Sankranti, also called “Pedda Panduga” (పెద్ద పండుగ), which literally means “the big festival”, when everyone wears new clothes, prays to God, and make offerings of traditional food to ancestors who have died.They also make big and beautiful muggus{rangolis) in front of their homes and they decorate the rangoli with flowers, colors and sparkle colors.

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. Sankranti in this sense demonstrates their strong cultural values as well as a time for change and transformation. And finally, gurus seek out their devotees to bestow blessings on them.

Kanuma Panduga (కనుమ) is not as widely celebrated, but is an integral part of the Sankranti culture. Mukkanuma (ముక్కనుమ) is popular among the non-vegetarians of the society.

Another notable feature of the festival in South India is the Haridas who goes early in the morning around with a colorfully dressed cow,singing songs of Lord Vishnu(Hari) hence the name Haridasu(servant of hari). It is a custom that he should not talk to anyone and only sing songs of lord vishnu when he goes to everyones house. During these days people across  fly kites from terraces of their buildings. Children and elders enjoy this kite flying a lot.

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