Makar Sankranti … In Sanskrit : मकर संक्रान्ति, Assamese: মকৰ সংক্রান্তি, Telugu: మకర సంక్రాంతి, Marathi: मकर संक्रान्ति, Kannada: ಮಕರ ಸಂಕ್ರಾಂತಿ
It signifies the transition of Sun to the Capricorn and is the traditional harvest festival in parts of South Asia.
It is start of the journey of Sun to the Northern phase. Indian astronomy considers zodiac signs side really and not tropically and because the earth tilts 23.45 degrees (and Ayanamasa) the date. It was on December 31 about a thousand years ago, now it is on January 14, in another thousand years it will be around the end of January.
It is celebrated under the names of Makar Sankranti, Uttarayan, Maghi, Pongal, Bhogali Bihu, Shishur Saenkraat or Makara Vilakku in parts of India and as Maghi or Maghe Sankranti in Nepal, as Songkran in Thailand as Pi Ma Lao in Laos, Thingyan in Myanmar and Moha Songkran in Cambodia, all traditionally rice producing and consuming countries. In Orissa too it is celebrated widely with major celebrations centered on Kalijai, Atri, Keonjhar, Jashipur and Jagatsinghpur.
Legends abound – it is said to be the beginning of the ‘Uttarayan’ (day) phase of the gods, on this day Lord Vishnu ended the dominance of the ‘asuras’.
Religious Benefit of highest merit acquired by a Holy dip on the day of Makar Sankrant : The time from Sunrise to Sunset on Makar Sankranti is auspicious. A Holy dip during this period carries special religious significance in Indian tradition and culture. Pilgrims take a Holy dip in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krushna and Kaveri at the Holy places situated on the banks of these rivers acquire the highest merit.
Personally, Makar Sankranti always meant ‘pithas’ or home made sweetmeats, traditionally prepared with jaggery, flour of newly harvested rice, coagulated milk and desiccated coconuts. Oe personal favorite was one steamed variety resembling small idlis eaten fresh and steaming with thick jaggery – heavenly.
In year 2011 Makar Sankranti will be celebrated on the 14th January 2011
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