unlike other Hindu festivals,
is not dependent on the position of the moon,
on position of the sun.
On this day,
the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn.
To compensate for the difference that occurs
due to the revolution around the sun,
every eighty years the day of sankrant
is postponed by one day.
In the present period
Makar-sankrant falls on 14th January.
Sankranti is considered a Deity.
According to a legend Sankranti killed
a demon named Sankarasur.
followed by Makar sankrant is called
Kinkrant or Karidin.
On this day,
the female deity (devi) slayed the demon Kinkarasur.
is available in the Panchang:
(Hindu Almanac) provides information
on the form, age, clothing, direction of movement etc.
This information is appropriate
to the changes taking place in Her according to time.
He who is touched by Goddess Sankranti gets destroyed.
The period from Karkasankrant
(the passage of the sun into the zodiac sign of Cancer)
to Makarsankrant is called the dakshinayan
. A person who dies in the dakshinayan period has
a greater chance of going to Yamalok (southward region),
than one who dies during uttarayan (northward revolution).
Importance from the point of view of spiritual practice:
On this day,
from sunrise to sunset,
the environment has more chaitanya
(Divine conscious-ness) ;
hence those doing spiritual practice
can benefit from this chaitanya.
Methods of celebration
Benefit of highest merit acquired
by a Holy dip on the day of Makarsankrant:
The time from sunrise to sunset on Makar-sankrant is auspicious.
A Holy dip during this period carries special significance.
who 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.
during an auspicious period:
The period from Makarsankrant to Rathsaptami
is an auspicious period.
Any donation and meritorious deeds
in this period prove more fruitful.
clothing, food, sesame seeds, pot of sesame seeds,
jaggery, a cow, a horse, gold or land
should be made depending on the capability.
They take things from unmarried girls
and give them sesame seeds and jaggery in return.
Married women organise a ceremony of haldi-kumkum
(applying vermilion and turmeric to the forehead)
and gift articles to other married women.
1. Importance of a gift:
to surrendering to the Divinity in the other,
through body, mind and wealth.
Since the period of sankrant is favourable
for spiritual practice, a gift given during this period results
in bestowal of Divine grace and the jiva
(embodied soul) gets the desired fruit.
2. What should be gifted?:
commodities like soaps and plastic items has started.
to spiritual practice and are indicators of a married life,
incense sticks, utane (fragrant powder used during bath),
religious texts, Holy texts, pictures of Deities,
CDs on spiritual topics etc.
should be gifted.
Small mud pots:
mud pots called sugad (in the Marathi language).
Vermilion and turmeric powder
is applied to the pots and a thread is tied to them.
They are filled with carrots, jujube fruits,
sugarcane pieces, pods, cotton, chickpeas, sesame seeds
with jaggery, vermilion, turmeric etc.
Five pots are placed on a wooden seat,
rangoli is drawn around the seat and worshipped.
Of these, three are gifted to married women,
one is offered to the tulsi plant and one is retained.
Use of sesame seeds:
is made during sankrant festival.
bathing with water containing sesame seeds
and eating and distributing tilgul
(a sweet made from sesame seeds),
offering sesame to Brahmans,
lighting lamps of sesame oil in a temple of Lord Shiva
and performing pitrushraddh
(rite for the departed ancestors)
in which an offering of sesame seeds is made.
Importance of sesame seeds
On this day those who apply sesame seed oil and utane to the body,
bathe in water mixed with sesame seeds,
drink water mixed with sesame seeds,
perform a sacrificial fire, make an offering of sesame seeds
and make similar use of sesame seeds,
are liberated of all sins.
Importance according to
consuming sesame seeds is beneficial.
to absorb and emit sattva frequencies,
consuming tilgul helps improve spiritual practice.
Distributing tilgul to one another results
in an exchange of the sattva component.
2. Using sesame seeds in shraddh prevents
demons from bringing obstacles during the rite.
During the period of sankrant,
brushing teeth, talking harshly,
cutting trees or grass and acts
provoking sexual urges should be avoided.
Holy Festivals, Religious Festivals
and Vowed Religious Observances,
compiled by H.H. Dr. Jayant B. Athavale
and Dr. Mrs. Kunda Athavale,
published by the Sanatan Sanstha.)
This festival is celebrated
Taking a dip in the holy rivers on this day
is regarded as most auspicious.
A big one-month long ‘Magha-Mela’ fair
begins at Prayag (Allahabad) on this occasion.
Apart from Triveni,
ritual bathing also takes place at many places like
Haridvar and Garh Mukteshwar
in Uttar Pradesh, and Patna in Bihar.
is held at Ganga Sagar where the river Ganga
is believed to have dived into the nether region
and vivified the ashes of the
sixty thousand ancestors of King Bhagirath.
is attended by a large number
of pilgrims from all over the country.
of rice boiled in a pot of milk, and this festival has more significance than even Diwali.
It is very popular particularly amongst farmers.
Rice and pulses cooked together in ghee and milk
is offered to the family deity after the ritual worship.
in the South this Sankrant is
a ‘Puja’ (worship) for the Sun God.
it is celebrated as a three-day harvest festival Pongal.
It is a big event for the people of Andhra Pradesh.
The Telugus like to call it
‘Pedda Panduga’ meaning big festival.
The whole event lasts for four days,
the first day Bhogi, the second day Sankranti,
the third day Kanuma and the fourth day, Mukkanuma.
the festival is marked by visiting one’s friends
and relatives to exchange greetings,
and by the preparation of a dish called
is the exchange of sugarcane pieces and Ellu with one’s neighbors, friends and relatives.
In Karnataka, Pongal is known as ‘Sankranti’,
and cows and bullocks are gaily decorated and fed ‘Pongal’
– a sweet preparation of rice.
Special prayers are offered.
In the evening,
the cattle are led out in procession
to the beat of drums and music.
In the night a bonfire is lit and the animals
are made to jump over the fire.
women and children wearing colorful clothing;
visiting near and dear ones;
and exchanging pieces of sugarcane,
a mixture of fried til, molasses,
pieces of dry coconut, peanuts and fried gram.
On this auspicious day,
people in Karnataka distribute
Yellu and bella (Sesame seeds and Jaggery)
and greet with the words
The significance of this exchange is that
sweetness should prevail in all the dealings.
on the Sankranti day people exchange multi-colored
tilguds made from til (sesame seeds) and sugar
and til-laddus made from til and jaggery.
Til-polis are offered for lunch.
While exchanging tilguls as tokens of
goodwill people greet each other saying –
‘accept these tilguls and speak sweet words’.
The under-lying thought in the exchange of tilguls
is to forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities
and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends.
This is a special day for the women in Maharashtra
when married women are invited for a get-together
called ‘Haldi-Kumkum’ and given gifts of any utensil,
which the woman of the house purchases on that day.
Hindus wear ornaments made of ‘Halwa’ on this day.
in the same manner as in Maharashtra but with
a difference that in Gujarat there is
a custom of giving gifts to relatives.
The elders in the family give gifts to the
younger members of the family.
The Gujarati Pundits on this auspicious day
grant scholarships to students
for higher studies in astrology and philosophy.
This festival thus helps the maintenance of
social relationships within the family, caste and community.
It has become an internationally well-known event.
are the coldest months of the year,
huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankrant
and which is celebrated as “LOHARI”.
Sweets, sugarcane and rice are thrown in the bonfires,
around which friends and relatives gather together.
The following day,
which is Sankrant, is celebrated as MAGHI.
The Punjabi’s dance their famous Bhangra
dance till they get exhausted.
Then they sit down and eat the sumptuous food
that is specially prepared for the occasion.
on this day in Sabarimala with a big festival.
this festival of Sankrant is known by the name
‘Sakarat’ and is celebrated with great pomp
& merriment accompanied by lot of sweets.
Tribals of Orissa:
New Year from the day of Sankrant
by lighting bonfires, dancing and eating their
particular dishes sitting together.
The Bhuya tribals of Orissa have their Maghyatra in
which small home-made articles are put for sale.
it is a harvest festival dedicated to Indra.