Makar Sankranti, also known as Maghi or Sankrat, is an auspicious Hindu festival that celebrates the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn. This festival holds great significance in Indian culture and is celebrated with much fervour and enthusiasm across the country. However, there is often confusion regarding the exact date of Makar Sankranti, with some people observing it on January 14 and others on January 15. In this blog, we will delve into the details of this festival and clear all doubts regarding its date and puja timings.
The date of Makar Sankranti usually falls on January 14 every year, depending on the positioning of the sun. But in leap year Makar Sankranti falls on January 15. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Sun visits his son Lord Shani's house on this day, making it a special occasion for devotees. The festival is scheduled for January 15 of this year. Drik Panchang reports that the Punya Kala would begin at 7:15 AM and end at 5:46 PM. On January 15, the Maha Punya Kala will begin at 7:15 AM and will end at 9 AM.
There are various beliefs and customs associated with this festival. In some parts of India, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as a harvest festival, while in others it is marked as a day to worship Lord Surya (Sun God). The festival is celebrated with different names in different states. In Maharashtra, it is known as 'Makar Sankranti', in West Bengal as 'Poush Parbon', in Tamil Nadu as 'Pongal', and in Gujarat as 'Uttarayan'.
On the day of Makar Sankranti, devotees wake up before sunrise and take a holy bath in rivers or lakes. This ritual is believed to wash away their sins and bring prosperity and good luck to their lives.
The puja timings for this festival are determined by astrological calculations and vary from region to region. In most parts of India, the auspicious time for puja starts at sunrise and lasts for an hour. However, in some states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, puja is performed during specific muhurats (auspicious times) throughout the day. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, people fly kites as a part of their celebration during the day.
Apart from performing pujas and rituals, Makar Sankranti is also celebrated with traditional delicacies like tilgul (sesame seeds and jaggery sweets), gajak (peanut brittle), and khichdi (a savoury rice and lentil dish). These foods hold great significance during this festival as they are associated with warmth, abundance, and prosperity.
Makar Sankranti is a festival that celebrates the change of season and is observed with different customs and traditions in various parts of India. The confusion regarding its date can be attributed to the use of different calendars and geographical variations. However, what remains constant is the spirit of this festival, which is all about coming together, spreading love and joy, and seeking blessings for a prosperous year ahead.