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Makar Sankranti

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Makar Sankranti festival of kites: A boy flying kite in sky holding the thread and his sister girl holding the manja-gatta of the patang near a tree in the wide ground
Makar Sankranti celebrating kids flying their kite in the sky!

Makar Sankranti is the most popular Sankranti among all the 12 Sankranti(s) which is dedicated to Hindu deity Surya (Sun). People not only signify this as the day of performing the righteous deeds but also celebrate it as the festival of kites.

The roofs of the homes witness special excitement among the kite-lovers who can be found flying kites with great happiness. Even the sky is seen studded of colorful kites who as if take their flight to explore new heights.

Well, how can one forget those “Til Ke Laddu” who are specially made as the prime sweet-dish of the festival.

Overview

All About Makar Sankranti

Contents:

Makar Sankranti: Quick Glance
Also Known As
Uttarayana Sankranti, Magha Mela, Maghi, Bhogi
Also Spelled As
Makara Sankranti, Makar Sankranthi
Significance
Sun Transition/ Sun Shifting, Sun Worship, Welcome longer days, Festival of Harvest
Event Type
Indian, Religious, Cultural
Observed By
Hindu, Brahmin
Observations
Surya Puja in river
Celebrations
Kite flying, feast, bonfires, dance, arts, socialization, fairs
Holiday
(Govt/State-wise/Regional)
Date and Time
January 14 (sometimes Jan 13 or Jan 15; As per Hindu Solar calendar)
Event in Various Years
15 January 2019
Occurance/ Frequency
Annual
Other Corelated Events
Maghi (Sikh Festival), Magh Bihu, Maghe Sankranti

Meaning of Makar Sankranti

The word Makar Sankranti incorporates two words- ‘Makar’ and ‘Sankranti’.

Makar is an astrological Zodiac sign which is also known as Capricorn and represented by the Goat Fish.

Sankranti signifies the Sun transition from one to another astrological zodiac sign.

As the name suggests, Makar Sankranti occurs when the transition of the sun happens from Makar Rashi to Kumbha Rashi that is from Capricorn zodiac to Aquarius zodiac.

Names of Makar Sankranti

The popularity of Makar Sankranti is so high in comparison to other Sankranti(s) that many people address Makar Sankranti as simply Sankranti too. It means if you will say Sankranti, they will consider Makar Sankranti.

Another popular name form which the Makar Sankranti is addressed, that is- "The Festival of Kites". You can literally see the flood of kites all around the sky in the areas where it is celebrated. They make the sky colorful and vibrant which is worth to witness site.

Makar Sankranti is known as Uttarayana Sankranti as well.

The day of Makar Sankranti is observed with many different names throughout India. In Punjab, the day is celebrated as a famous festival 'Lohri'. In Gujarat, it is known as Uttarayan. Where Assam commemorates 'Bihu', Tamil Nadu comes together for 'Pongal'.

let's check out the complete list of Makar Sankranti names in various countries, Indian states, and regions!

Other Names of Makar Sankranti
Indian States and Regions
Makara Sankranti
Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka, Odisha
Maghi (Preceded by festival of Lohri)
North India (North Indian Sikhs and Hindus): Punjab, Hariyana, Himachal Pradesh
Magh Bihu, Bhogali Bihu
Assam (Assamese)
Sakrat/ Sakarat/ Sukarat
Central India
Makara Sankramana, Suggi Habba
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana
Pedda Pandaga
Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka
Thai Pongal, Uzhavar Thirunal
Tamil (Tamils)
Makara Mela, Makara Chaula
Odisha
Uttarayan/ Uttarayana
Gujarat
Shishur Saenkraat
Kashmir Valley
Khichdi
Uttar Pradesh, Western Bihar
Poush Sangkranti
West Bengal
Tila Sakrait
Mithila
Maghi, Maghe Sankranti, Khichdi Sankranti
Nepal
Poush Sangkranti, Shakrain
Bangladesh
Tirmoori
Pakistan (Sindh)
ThaiPongal
Sri Lanka, Malaysia

Day and Date of Makar Sankranti

The date and time of celebration of Indian festivals are decided as per the Panchang, the Hindu calendar. So the dates of the English calendar vary and shift back or forth by a few days. Makar Sankranti is one of those few festivals that fall on the same date mostly.

Most of the Hindu fast and festivals are observed as per the lunar cycle system based Hindu lunisolar calendar ‘Panchang’, but Makar Sankranti is one of those rare Hindu events which is celebrated as per the Hindu Solar calendar. (Based on Solar cycle system)

As it is associated with the solar cycle system, it falls on January 14 every year and the date remain the same as per the Gregorian calendar as well. Despite its consistency, sometimes it deviates from one day in some years and falls on either January 13 or January 15.

As per Hindu Lunar calendar, it comes in ‘Magha’, the eleventh month of ‘Panchang’ Hindi calendar. This is why Makar Sankranti is also known as Magha Sankranti and even Magha festival.

Makar Sankranti Day
Date of Makar Sankranti Observance
Tuesday
15 January 2019
Wednesday
15 January 2020
Thursday
14 January 2021
Friday
14 January 2022
Sunday
15 January 2023
Monday
15 January 2024
Tuesday
14 January 2025
Wednesday
14 January 2026

Auspicious Muhurat Time of Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is one of the Ayan Sankranti(S); other is Karka Sankranti. Makar Sankranti related auspicious muhurat for Daan-Punya falls 40 Ghati(s) after the Makar Sankraman moment.

It implies the muhurat for Daan-Punya related righteous activities is the time window of Sankranti to 40 Ghati after Sankranti.

Makar Sankranti Day and Date: Tuesday, 16 July 2019
Makar Sankranti Moment: 04:50 AM, 17 July 2019
(Time of Sankraman)
Makar Sankranti Maha Punya Kaal: 04:59 PM to 07:12 PM
(Duration of Muhurat: 06 Hour 39 Mins)
Makar Sankranti Punya Kaal: 12:33 PM to 07:12 PM
(Duration of Muhurat: 02 Hours 13 Mins)

Lord Surya, The God of Makar Sankranti Festival

People dedicate the day of Makar Sankranti for extending their prayers towards Surya Deva. Sun God is a Hindu religious deity who can be traced in Vedic scriptures too, including the famous sacred hymn of Rigveda which is known as the “Gayatri Mantra”.

Some believers pray for their success and request for the prosperity; others take this as a time to be thankful towards the Surya deva for giving them a prosperous and successful life.

Makar Sankranti Rituals

Sacred River Bath or Nadi Snaan and Prayers Towards Lord Surya

Many people consider river-bath as one important ritual to perform on Sankranti. It is done with this belief that their sins will be washed with the bath in the holy water of a river. Simultaneously they also worship the Hindu deity Surya, known as Lord Surya or Sun God for thanksgiving.

Other Events

The important rituals of Makar Sankranti include- rising up early and taking sacred bath in the holy river with worshipping the Sun God, offering bhog (food) to the deity, distribution of sweets, food, clothes, and other stuff to the known and needy people during the auspicious time muhurat which is calculated as per the Hindu calendar and Vedic astrology system.

Significance of Makar Sankranti

Commencement of New Month of Hindu Solar Calendar

Makar Sankranti marks the arrival of the tenth month of Hindu Solar calendar which mostly falls in February.

Marking of Harvesting Season

The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated for welcoming the harvest season and bidding farewell to the northeast monsoon in South Indian region.

Most of the Indian regions witness the early phases of the Rabi crop or the period when the crops are sown, ending the stages where the hard work is needed. Thus, this time brings joy, peace, and relaxation from everywhere.

Welcoming Consistent Longer Days

At one hand where Makar Sankranti marks the end of the winter solstice months, it also signifies the beginning of longer days.

Beginning of Uttarayana

Uttarayana is considered as a six-month-long auspicious period which begins with the Makar Sankranti.

Mythologies

Spiritual Significance

People believe that the sacred bath in Holy River in auspicious muhurat time duration of around Makar Sankranti can play the path to their Moksha (salvation) by washing all the past sins. Having faith in this, people take a dip in some specific lakes and rivers such as- Ganga, Yamuna, Krishna, Kaveri, and Godavari.

Makar Sankranti Observations

Kite Flying on Makar Sankranti

Say it ritual, tradition, culture, or a way of celebration, kite-flying is one of the prime ways to celebrate Makar Sankranti. Kite flying is done as a game as well.

Popularly, kite is known as “Patang”, thread as “manja”, kite-flying as “patang udaana”, helping in flying the kite as “chhutti dena”, cutting other’s kite as “patang kaatna” or “pech ladana”.

People make or purchase the colorful paper-kites which are knotted or tied with a thread. One person holds the kite and the other one helps him with managing the thread. The more the kite achieves its height, the more joyous it becomes for the kite-flying person.

However the target doesn’t end here. People playing this as a game and fun try to cut the kites of others from the thread of their kites. This is known as “Patang Kaatna” (Kite-cutting) or “Pench fansana” (Tangling the thread with trick).

Colors and Social Festivity

Makar Sankranti day witnesses color all around and in every aspect. People make colorful decorations on walls. The females of the houses make rangoli (colorful designs and curves) on the floors. Where the elders decorate the earth and earthly things, kids take responsibility of the sky. They fly colorful kites in the sky. Thus, the special occurrences of colors can be seen in a distinguished way.

Children Asks for Treats

This is an amazing Indian tradition and a part of a culture where the treats are asked going doors to doors. Earlier the Rishi-muni (Sadhu/ monks) used to roam from one home to another and ask for Dakshina (food, etc), giving blessing to the donation-giver.

Children kind of follow the same old tradition this day of Makar Sankranti, and ask for treats in their nearby colony or area. Many kids of the local area gather to do this and sing together to call and impress the families. The females also come out of their homes and give them delicious Sankranti dishes with great delight.

Some people give money too, in the form of the pocket money.

Fairs (Magha Mela)

In many areas of India, the fairs are also arranged in which people enjoy the marry-go-rounds, visit the tableau, and shop the games for their kids.

Such a Makar Sankranti fair is known as Magha Mela which is mentioned in the Mahabharata (Hindu epic) as well, as per the people associated with Indology.

Makar Sankranti Celebration: How to Celebrate Makar Sankranti Festival?

Cultural Activities: Singing and Dancing

Ladies come together at one common place and sing Makar Sankranti geet to enjoy and celebrate. These Sankranti songs are sung usually in their regional languages which sound like some folk songs.

Alike Sankranti gaane (songs), people celebrate by dancing as well. They perform their regional folk dance together and enjoy spreading smiles around.

Sharing of Traditional Sweet Dish of Makar Sankranti

A special Makar Sankranti dish “Til Laddu” (Til ke laddu/ Tilli ke laddu) are made, eaten, and distributed among the friends, family, and as the donation to the poor people. This sweet dish is made by til (seasame), shakkar or gud/gur (Sugar or Jaggery).

Sharing sweet this way symbolizes the happiness, peace, and harmony between the humankind. Celebration in India makes it more special as people with different culture, religion, and belief come together to rejoice.


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