Sunday 19 October 2014

Makara Sankranthi (Pongal/Lohri) Festival Date 2015. Mythological & Scientific Significance of Sankranti, A Three day Hindu Festival

Makara Sankranti is one of the most important festivals for Indians. This festival normally falls on the 14th of January in every year. On this day, the Sun enters the house of Capricorn(known as "Makara Rasi"). The festival has its own significance in terms of  scientifically, mythological and in cultural aspect. Makara Sankranthi festival is regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase in Indian Culture. It is considered as the "Holy phase of Transition". It is a festival when farmers rejoice at the good harvest and express their gratitude to the Sun, the Earth and the cattle for their bountiful blessings.

In 2015, the Sankranthi festival is a Welcome Change Festival which will be celebrated on January 14, 2015(Wednesday)

Scientific Significance of the festival: 
Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of Warmer and longer days compared to the nights. It marks the commencement of the sun's journey from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere. The north is symbolized by Himaachala. "Hima" means "Snow", "Achala" means "Steady & Unshakeable". This means "Himalaya" represents "Cool, Peaceful and Steady".

Different Names in different locations:
In India, the Makara Sankranti festival is celebrated with distinct names and rituals in different parts of the country. This festival is also celebrated in some countries like Srilanka, Myanmar, Thailand.
Sankranti, the auspicious day when the sun enters Makara Rasi(Tropic of Capricorn), signifies the onset of Uttarayana, serving a silent reminder to one and all to move higher and higher from darkness to light.
Name of the State "Makara Sankranthi" Festival called as Duration of Festival
Andhrapradesh/Telangana Sankranthi Three Days Festival
Day2:Sankranthi and
Assam Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu One Day Festival
Bihar Makraat One Day Festival
Delhi Halwa One Day Festival
Gujarat Uttarayan Two Days Festival
Day1(January 14): Uttarayan and Day2(January 15): Vasi-Uttarayan
Haryana Halwa One Day Festival
Himachal Pradesh Mragha Saaja One Day Festival
Jarkhand Makraat One Day Festival
Karnataka Suggi One Day Festival
Kashmir Shishur Saenkraat One Day Festival
Kerala Makara Vilakku Festival on "Makara Sankranthi Day" @ Sabarimal Temple, Kerala
Odhisha(Orissa) Makara-Chaula One Day Festival
Punjab Lohtri One Day Festival
Rajasthan Sankrat One Day Festival
Tamilnadu Pongal Four Days Festival
Day3:Mattu Pongal and
Day4:Knau or Kannum
Uttarakhand Ghurghuti One Day Festival
West Bengal Poush Parbon One Day Festival
Nepal Maghi or Maghe Sankranthi One Day Festival
Myanmar Thingyan One Day Festival
Srilanka Pongal One Day Festival
Thailand Songkran One Day Festival

Mythological Legend:
The important of Sankranthi Festival is described in ancient epics like Mahabhrata, especially by Bheeshmacharya, the grandsire of the Pandavas and the Kauravas. In this setting he is said to have lain on a bed of arrows for days, waiting for this holy day to shed his mortal coils and attain to the hiher worlds. It is believed that those who die during this period will have no rebirth.

Significance of Makara Sankranthi, A Three Day Festival:
The Sankranthi festival is being celebrated for three days.

On the first day known as "Bhogi Festival", people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things effecting change or transformation. At dawn bonfires are lit with logs of wook, pieces of wooden furniture that are no longer useful This is called "Bhogi Manta". It represents realization, transformation and purificatiaon of the soul by imbibing and inculcating divine virtues.

On the second day, Makara Sankranthi is also called "Pedda Panduga"(in Andhra Pradesh/Telangana) which is literally means "the big festival'. On this day, everyone wears new clothes, prays to God and make offerings of traditional food to ancestors who have died.They also draw big and beautiful Rangolis in front of their homes and decorate them with flowers and sparkling colours. The toys are exhibited in the houses which is called as "Bhommala Koluvu"

On the third day known as "Kanuma Fesival", Cows and Bulls are given a wash and the horns are painted with bright colours and decorated with garlands.
  • Another notable feature of the festival in South India is the "Haridas" who goes around early in the morning with a colourfully dressed Cow, Singing songs of Lord Vishnu. They will entertain the people by telling "Harikathalu"(stories of Lord Vishnu) through which people gain knowledge.
  • "Samyak Kranthi Ithi Sankranthi" - Changing for good is Sankranthi. "Kranthi" means Change. Hence everyone should change and become happy and blissful. Thus the Sankranthi Festival confers peace and heralds a welcome change.

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