Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Makar Sankranti pongal

When is Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranthi, also known as Makar Sankranti is popular Hindu festival.Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious day for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion, fervor & gaiety. The festival of Makar Sankrant traditionally coincides with the beginning of the Sun's northward journey (the Uttarayan) when it enters the sign of Makar (the Capricorn). It falls on the 14th of January every year according to the Solar Calendar. Lakhs of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar & Prayag and pray to Lord Sun. 
 In Indian, the states of Bihar, Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu celebrate the festival with great fervor and gusto.In Tamil Nadu the festival is known as Pongal, in Assam as Bhogali Bihu, in Punjab, as Lohiri, in Gujarat and Rajasthan, as Uttararayan. Outside India, the festival is given due importance in the countries like Nepal where it is celebrated as Maghe Sakrati or Maghi, in Thailand where it is named as Songkran and in Myanmar where it is called Thingyan.
Makar Sankranti Date and Time:
It is celebrated in many parts of the country and also in some other parts of the world with great zeal and enthusiasm. It is a harvest festival which is basically celebrated in the Hindu communities.
One of the few Indian festivals that falls on the same day every year according to the Gregorian calender.Wed Jan 14 2015 Makar Sankranti Restricted Holiday
Thu Jan 14 2016 Makar Sankranti Restricted Holiday
The festival, Sankranti (మకర సంక్రాంతి), is celebrated for four days in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as below:
Day 1–Bhogi
Day 2-Makara Sankranti- the main festival day
Day 3-Kanuma
Day 4-Mukkanuma
makar sankranti pongal
2017 Makara Sankranti Phalam
Punya Kaal Muhurta = 07:50 to 17:41 Duration = 9 Hours 51 Mins Sankranti Moment = 07:50
Maha Punya Kaal Muhurta = 07:50 to 08:14 Duration = 0 Hours 23 Mins

why do we celebrate makar sankranti
Pongal is directly associated with the annual cycle of seasons. It not only marks the reaping of the harvest, but also the withdrawal of the southeast monsoons in southern India. As the cycle of season rings out the old and ushers in the new, so is the advent of Pongal connected with cleaning up the old, burning down rubbish, and welcoming in new crops.Day and night are equally long.

This is the one of the very important rituals in India to be performed on Makar Sankranti. Women will offer the Shreemangalchandika prapatti on the day of Sankranti (the 14th or the 15th of January). It holds a significance because on this day, Mata Mahishasurmardini with the purpose of destroying Mahishasur, first set foot on earth, in the Kataraaj ashram of Rishi Kardam and Devahuti. Women will offer the ShreeMangalChandika Prapatti‘Shreemangalchandika naimittik prapatti’ after sunset on the day of Sankranti. This again because it was after sunset that the Mahishasurmardini set foot in the Kataraaj ashram. If She were to come during the day, no man would have been able to bear her radiance and so She came after sunset, when it was dark.

Offering the prapatti on the day of Sankranti makes out of every woman, the protective soldier of her family on the one hand and the bodyguard of each of her family members on the other. Irrespective of whether she is a mother, a sister or a wife, she definitely becomes the protector of the family.It is also celebrated differently in different regions of India.
how is makar sankranti celebrated
It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of the country as Pongal, and in Punjab is celebrated as Lohri & Maghi. Rajasthan & Gujarati not only look reverentially up to the sun, but also offer thousands of their colorful oblations in the form of beautiful kites all over the skyline. The Festival introduces kite enthusiasts world-wide to the intriguing beauty and cultural diversity of India. why is lohri celebrated
Lohri is the cultural celebration of the winter solstice.Lohri is meant to be celebrated on the shortest day of the year.There are few renowned legends associated with this historic festival of Punjab, the most significant of them being the Dullah Bhatti, which evolved around the Festival of Lohri. Lohri marks the end of the dreary and awfully cold month of Pos (mid Dec to mid Jan) and the next day of Makar Sakranti, ushers in the bright and sunny month of Magh. This is particularly a happy occasion for the couples who for the first time celebrated Lohri after their marriage and also the first Lohri of the son born in a family.
Lohri is traditionally associated with the harvest of the rabi crops.The traditional time to harvest sugarcane crops is January and therefore, Lohri is seen by some to be a harvest festival. The general time to sow sugarcane is January to March and the harvesting period is between December to March with a 12 to 18 month cycle.Sugarcane products such as gurh and gachak are central to Lohri celebrations, as are nuts which are harvested in January. The other important food item of Lohri is radish which can be harvested between October and January.
Punjabi farmers see the day after Lohri (Maghi) as the financial new year. It is a very important day. The farmers celebrate Lohri as such. New agricultural tenancies commence on Lohri and rents are collected on this day.
Lohri Date and time:
Lohri falls in the month of Paush i.e. around 13 January, as per the Gregorian calendar. It is, actually, celebrated a day before Maghi, as it marks the end of the winter season of hemant in the Punjabi calendar. The sun usually enters the Nirayana Makara rashi (Capricorn) on 14 January (99% of the time). However, there are times when the sun could enter the zodiac a day before or a day after 14 January. Regardless, Lohri is still celebrated a day before Maghi. Makara (Maghi) sankranti (Sangrand) marks beginning of the solar maaghamasa, and Lohri must be celebrated on the last day of the solar Dhanur masa, which also marks the exit of the sun from Dhanu rashi(Sagittarius).
Sankranti:
Sankranti is celebrated all over South Asia with some regional variations. It is known by different names and celebrated with different customs in different parts of the country popularly celebrated in Karnataka (Sankranthi), Telangana (Sankranthi), Andhra pradesh (Sankranthi) and Tamil Nadu (Pongal).

The day preceding Makara Sankranti is called Bhogi and this is when people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. At dawn people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful. The disposal of derelict things is where all old habits, vices, attachment to relations and material things are sacrificed in the sacrificial fire of the knowledge of Rudra, known as the "Rudra Gita Gyana Yagya". It represents realization, transformation and purification of the soul by imbibing and inculcating divine virtues.

In many families, infants and children (usually less than three years old) are showered with the Indian Jujube fruit Ziziphus mauritiana, called "Regi Pandlu" in Telugu. It is believed that doing this would protect the children from evil eye. Sweets in generous quantities are prepared and distributed. It is a time for families to congregate. Brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts as affirmation of their filial love. Landlords give gifts of food, clothes and money to their workforce.

The second day is Makara Sankranti. People wear new clothes, pray to God, and make offerings of traditional food to ancestors who have died. They also make beautiful and ornate drawings and patterns on the ground with chalk or flour, called "muggu" or "Rangoli" in Telugu, in front of their homes. These drawings are decorated with flowers, colours and small, hand-pressed piles of cow dung, called "gobbemma".

For this festival all families prepare Chakinalu, Nuvvula Appalu, Gare Appalu or Katte Appalu or karam appalu, Madugulu (Jantikalu), Bellam Appalu, kudumulu, Ariselu, Appalu (a sweet made of jaggery and rice flour) dappalam (a dish made with pumpkin and other vegetables) and make an offering to God.

On the day after Makara Sankranti, the animal kingdom is remembered and in particular, the cows. Young girls feed the animals, birds and fish as a symbol of sharing. Travel is considered to be inappropriate, as these days are dedicated for re-union of the families. Sankranti in this sense demonstrates their strong cultural values as well as a time for change and transformation. And finally, gurus seek out their devotees to bestow blessings on them.

On the third day, Kanuma is celebrated. Kanuma is an event which is very intimate to the hearts of farmers because it is the day for praying and showcasing their cattle with honor. Cattles are the symbolic indication of sign of prosperity.

Nowadays Kanuma is not being celebrated widely as it used to be but is an integral part of the Sankranti culture and is meant for Thanksgiving to Cattle.Fourth day is called Mukkanuma which is popular among the non-vegetarians of the society. On this day, Farmers offer the prayers to the elements (like soil, rain, fire for helping the harvest) and the (village) goddesses with their gifts which sometimes (these days mainly) include animal(s).

People in Coastal Andhra do not eat any meat (or fish) during the first three days of the festival, and do so only on the day of Mukkanuma.Kanuma, Mukkanuma & the day following Mukkanuma also calls for celebrations with union of families, friends, relatives followed by various fun activities, which mainly include Cock Fighting, Bullock/Ox Racing, Kite Flying, Ram (Pottelu) Fighting.

On this occasion, in every town and city, people play with kites and the sky can be seen filled with beautiful kites. Children and elders enjoy this kite flying occasion.

Another notable feature of the festival in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is the Haridasa who goes early in the morning around with a colorfully dressed cow, singing songs of Lord Vishnu (Hari) hence the name Haridasu (servant of Hari). It is a custom that he should not talk to anyone and only sing songs of lord vishnu when he goes to everyone's house
What is Pongal:
'Pongal' comes from the word 'ponga' which literally means 'boil' and 'pongal' connotes 'spillover' or that which is 'overflowing'. It's also the name of the special sweet dish cooked on the Pongal day.
Significance of the Makar Sankranti:
The significance of the Makar Sankranti festival is that it marks the day where there is a significant movement in the zodiac the arrangement of the earth’s dial around the sun and this movement brings about a new change in the way we experience the planet itself. There are many sankrantis through the year; the two significant ones being Makar Sankranti, and right opposite, after summer solstice is Karka Sankranti. In between, there are many Sankrantis every time the zodiac sign changes, it is called a Sankranti to suggest the movement of the planet, to understand that our life is sustained and nourished by this movement. If this movement ceases, everything about us will cease. On the 22nd of December, the solstice happened, that means in relation to the sun, the movement or the tilt of the planet reaches its maximum. Now, from this day onwards, the northern movement is strong. Things really start changing upon the earth. From Makar Sankranti onwards, winter is being relieved step by step.
This movement is also a significant aspect in the way we reap from this planet. There was a time when human beings could eat only what the earth offered. Then we learned how to get what we wanted from the earth; this is called agriculture. When we were hunting and gathering, we only picked up what was there.
The Makar Sankranti festival is also known and referred to as the harvest festival because this is the time when harvesting is complete and there are big celebrations. This is the day we acknowledge all those who assisted in making the harvest. The farm animals play a huge role in harvesting, so the following day is for them and is called Mattu Pongal. The first day is for the earth, the second is for us and the third is for the animals and livestock.
Regional Significance of Makar Sankranti festival:
In Uttar Pradesh, Sankrant is called 'Khichiri'. Taking a dip in the holy rivers on this day is regarded as most auspicious. A big one-month long 'Magha-Mela' fair begins at Prayag (Allahabad) on this occasion. Apart from Triveni, ritual bathing also takes place at many places like Haridvar and Garh Mukteshwar in Uttar Pradesh, and Patna in Bihar.

In Bengal every year a very big Mela is held at Ganga Sagar where the river Ganga is believed to have dived into the nether region and vivified the ashes of the sixty thousand ancestors of King Bhagirath. In Maharashtra on the Sankranti day people exchange multi colored tilguds made from til (sesame seeds) and sugar and til-laddus made from til and jaggery.

In Gujarat there is a custom of giving gifts to relatives. The Gujarati Pundits on this auspicious day grant scholarships to students for higher studies in astrology and philosophy. Kite flying has been associated with this festival in a big way. It has become an internationally well-known event.
Food:
It is traditional to eat Gajak, Sarson da saag with Makki di roti, radish, ground nuts and jaggery. It is also traditional to eat "til rice" which is made by mixing jaggery, sesame seeds and rice.
Kite flying:
Kite flying on Lohri is popular in some parts of Punjab. People get onto the roof tops and fly kites of various sizes and colours.

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