Happy Makar Sankranti 2020: Makar Sankranti significance, history and why it’s celebrated
Makar Sankranti is one of the major Hindu festivals in India, and Indians celebrate this festival with a lot of fervour. The festival is majorly celebrated in the Indian Subcontinent and also by Indians and Hindus around the world. The festival is a religious celebration as well as a seasonal observance and marks the winter solstice, when the shift of the sun leads to ever-lengthening, longer days. This day, also known as Maghi, is a major harvest festival and is dedicated to the sun god Surya, it also marks the first day of the sun’s transit into Makara (Capricorn) raashi (zodiac sign) and is observed in the month of January. Usually, the festival is celebrated on January 14, but in some exceptions, it takes place of January 15, which is the case for the year 2020 as well.
This festival is also known as Uttarayan as from the day of Makar Sankranti, the sun begins it’s northward journey. The harvest festival is celebrated throughout India, although under different names and traditions. The festivities related to Makar Sankranti have many names depending on the region it is being celebrated in. For example, by north Indian Hindus and Sikhs, it is called Maghi and is preceded by Lohri. It is called Makara Sankranti and also Poush sôngkrānti in Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Telangana, Sukarat in central India, Magh Bihu by Assamese, and Thai Pongal or Pongal by Tamils. In Gujarat, kite flying is organised as part of Makar Sankranti festivities.
On this day, devotees take a holy dip in rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery. They believe this washes away their sins, it is also considered a time of peace and prosperity and many spiritual practices are conducted on this day. Every 12 years, along with Makar Sankranti celebrations, the Kumbh Mela also takes place, which is one of the world’s largest mass privileges. Sesame and jaggery ladoos or chikkis are distributed on this day. Popularly referred to as til-gud. The sweet signifies that people must stay together in peace and harmony despite their differences.
According to Hindu belief, if one dies on Makar Sankranti they are not reborn, but go straight to paradise.
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