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Festivals - Makar Sankranti
 
 

MAKAR SANKRANTI FESTIVAL FALLS ON THE DAY OF THE YEAR when the sun-considered the king of all grahas (planets)-is in the rasi (zodiac sign) known as Makar ( Capricorn ). This is considered the most beneficial rasi of the sun, and it is very auspicious. The calculations for determining Makar Sankranti are done according to the solar calendar. Therefore, Makar Sankranti always falls on 14 January according to the English calendar; It is usually the month of Magh of the Hindu calendar; the ‘Tith’ or the position of the moon keeps shifting because of the difference in calculations. Although Sankrant comes every month, the position of the ‘sun in Makar’ bestows the most punn (merit ) for those who abide by the rules of the festival-by bathing in the rivers or tanks, offering water to the sun god and giving thaan (charity). Such deeds earn special and lasting merit and assure one a place in heaven.

 

The faithful flock to the water sources (such as rivers, tanks or lakes) in all towns and villages. As the water levels in the rivers are low at this time of the year, the urchins of the town have a rollicking time. A mela is held on the banks of the rivers and tanks. Chaatwalas and ‘icecream walas’ display and sell their stuff, much to the delight of the kids. People from the upper classes usually avoid this type of bathing because of the fear of polluted waters, but the very religious do take the chance, because for them, the punn earned from the bath is greater than the danger of disease.

     
 

Makar Sankranti is a day of thaan ( giving) to the poor and needy. There are two festivals, Makar Sankranti and Nirjala Ekadashi (or Ekathshi), where the focus is on those persons who may be suffering hardships and cannot afford to celebrate. It is good to teach the children from the beginning that a thought for the less fortunate should always be there

 

and should be translated into action at least some time in the year religiously. Therefore Makar Sankranti and Nirjala Ekadashi are the two days ordained for such thaan. It of course does not absolve one from being kind and charitable all through the year, whenever the occasion or situation demands! A bit of compulsory goodness does not harm anyone.

     
 

On this festival day the thaan consists of the following:

 
1. Raw khichri (rice and moong dal mixed) - 500gm at least
2 Ghee or cooking oil - 1 katori
3. Salt - 250gm
4. Papad Bookmark and Share

 
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