Makar Sankranti Festival, India

The festival of Makar Sankranti is a significant one in India. As Makar means Capricorn, Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the day when the sun enters the Capricorn's Zodiac, called Makara Raashi. Based on the Vedas, Sankranti indicates the Sun's movement or transit from one Rashi (constellation) to the next.

Therefore, there are twelve Sankranti in a year. Makar Sankranti is considered to be the most auspicious of all these festivals and it is the only Hindu festival that falls on a solar calendar date. The festival of Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of harvest season when new harvests are celebrated and shared. From this day, the Sun moves from the southern to northern hemisphere, marking the beginning of a new season. As a result, the festival is dedicated to the Sun God.

Makar Sakranti is considered an auspicious day, so it is recommended that one get up just before sunrise and take a bath to begin the day with good fortune. You should add a small number of sesame seeds to your bath water before taking a bath. The tradition suggests that after bathing, one should chant the Gayatri Mantra and offer water to the Sun (Argya). Makar Sankranti honors the Sun God and shows gratitude to him via offerings, prayers and flying the kites. The Sun stands for Pratyaksha-Braham, the manifestation of the Absolute, bestowing knowledge, spiritual light, and wisdom.

Lord Vishnu destroyed the terror caused by demons on the day of Makar Sakranti by cutting off their heads and burying them under a mountain, symbolizing the end of negativity and the beginning of righteousness and good intentions. Observing Makar Sankranti means beginning anew. It is a time for letting go of the past and letting new light into one's life. This allows us to acknowledge God for our prosperity and well-being throughout the year.

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