Sun enters the Capricorn sign on 14th January. In south India, the Tamil year begins from this date. This festival is known as “Thai Pongal” in South India. Sindhi people call this festival “Tirmauri”. This Hindu festival is known as “Makar Sankranti” in North India and “Uttarayan” in Gujarat. Other names of this festival are as follows: Lohri(13th January) in Punjab, Uttarayani in Uttarakhand, Uttarayan in Gujarat, Pongal in Kerala, Khichadi Sankranti in Garhwal.
Beliefs Associated with Makar Sankranti
According to one of the beliefs, lord Shiva had showered his blessings on his devotees, especially on sages, on this day. Some people believe that lord Shiva had donated self-knowledge to lord Vishnu on this day.
The counting of days of deities begins from this day. When Sun is in Dakshinayan, the period is called the night of deities, and 6 months of Uttarayan is called as day. Six months of human beings are equal to one day and one night of deities.
Apart from this, it is also believed that Sun goes to meet his son Saturn on this day. This meeting of Sun and Saturn is celebrated as “Makar Sankranti”. Everybody is aware of the belief that according to the saga of Mahabharat, Bhishma Pitamah had chosen the day of Makar Sankranti, i.e., 14th January for getting rid of his body.
It is said that on this day, Ganga followed Bhagirath to reach the hermitage of saint Kapil and had fallen into the ocean. That is why bathing in the river Ganga and making donations to shrines are considered especially significant.
Makar Sankranti: The Symbol of New Life
The weather starts changing on the day of Makar Sankranti. This is the reason behind the shortening of nights and the lengthening of days. The summer season begins due to the movement of the Sun towards the northern hemisphere. The heat and light of Sun start increasing. As a result of this, there is a development of awareness and energy among the creatures. The living beings hibernating in their homes, burrows, or dens due to cold weather start coming out. Color and aroma start spreading in nature.
Specialty of Makar Sankranti Til
Til is used on a large scale in the recipes of Makar Sankranti. The aroma of the items made of Til could be felt everywhere on the day of Makar Sankranti. Eating and donating Til on this day is considered auspicious. Massage of Til, using Til oil, bath of a mixture of water and Til, drinking the mixture of Til and water, Til-Havan, eating and donating the items of Til, reduce the sins and increase the auspicious fruits.
Donation of Til, i.e., the Karak product of Saturn, and jaggery, i.e., the Karak product of Sun is considered highly auspicious. Exchanging these things increases mutual affection, sweetness, and cooperation. Makar Sankranti festival unites the people together.