Makar Sankranti is considered as one of the most auspicious days for Hindus. The festival is celebrated on 14th January and is possibly the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day each year with just a few exceptions. In 2020, this festival will be celebrated on 15th January.
This festival is celebrated differently in different parts of India. Thousands of people take a dip in the river Ganga and pray to Sun God. It stands as a metaphor for reaching to their beloved God.
The festival of Makar Sankranti marks the change of the sun into Makara Rashi (Capricorn) on its celestial path. The word Sankranti has been taken from Sanskrit Language i.e. Sankramana, which means commencement of movement. This marks the end of winter season and beginning of crop harvesting. So, Makar Sankranti brings prosperity and hence is significant of all the transitions of Sun.
It is also believed that on the day of Makar Sankranti, the Sun goes to the house of his son Shani. Sun and Saturn are considered to be inimical planet. Throughout the year, it is only during the month of magh, when Sun enters the house of Shani (Capricorn). This period symbolizes the importance of relations as Sun forgets his anger and his son Shani welcomes him to his house.
Another belief is that on this day, Lord Vishnu had cut the heads of Asuras and subdued them on Mandarachal Mountains. Since that time, this Victory of Lord Vishnu is celebrated as the festival of Makar Sankranti.
As per the scriptures, when the sun is in Northern hemisphere (Uttarayan), it is the days of gods or devtas while during dakshinayan position of Sun, it is their night. This was the reason that Bhishm-pitamah, the grandfather of pandavas and kauravas, who had the boon of self-inflicted death did not leave his body and decided to stay on the bed of arrows till the Sun was again in Uttarayan position. It is believed that a person who dies on this day attains salvation since the doors of Vaikuntha are opened on this day. Also, Yashoda was blessed with Lord Krishna as her son because she had donated a betel leaf on this day. Charity on this day is considered to be especially beneficial.
Ganga Snan is one major tradition involved with Makar Sankranti. Huge gathering of saints can be found near the river Ganges during this phase and Kumbha mela which is organized every twelve years exemplifies faith, devotion and spirituality. Makar Sankranti and bathing in holy water has remained accustomary over centuries. Goswami Tulsidas ji in his Ramcharitmanas has stated:-
“Maaghmakargati jab ravihoee, teeratha patihiaavtahaansoee.”
When translated, it means that after Sun enters in the Capricorn sign in the month of magha, the lord of all sacred places resides in the Ganges and other holy waters.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated by gifting, donating and eating sweets made of jaggery and sesame seeds. In the morning, urad-dal khichdi is made and served after taking a bath. Tawa or flat frying pan is not supposed to be used on this day, thus, people enjoy khichdi and kachoris along with other sweets.
By celebrating Makar Sankranti, devotees pray to be freed from this cycle of birth and death, and attain Moksha. Makar Sankranti is a multifaceted festival that not only celebrates harvesting but life as a whole.
This year, Sun will enter the Capricorn on the night of Makar Sankranti of 2020 (14th January) at 07:50 pm, which will remain end of the day. Therefore, whole day of 15th January is auspicious for donation.
According to Astrology, it is believed that if Sun is in auspicious condition in any Native’s Horoscope then native will be on higher status in his career/business. Along with the influence of the Sun, its reputation and prestige also increases.
If Sun is not in good position in particular Native horoscope, then this day is very auspicious to increase sun strength in Kundali. In Astrology, some tips have been to please the sun, which proves to be very auspicious. The objects of the Sun are Cow, Jaggery and red cloth etc. Copper and gold are considered to be the precious metal of the Sun.
Muhurat for Makar Sankranti:-
PunyaKaal – 07:19 to 12:31 pm.
Sankranti begin – 14th January (Tuesday) by 19:50 pm.
Mahapunya Kaal Shubh Muhurat – 07:19 to 09:03 am. (15thJanurary)
Sankranti snan time – Morning, 15 January 2020