What Is The Meaning And Significance of Sankranti | Auspicious Time For Spiritual Practices
Updated: Apr 5
Sankranti is regarded as the auspicious time for spiritual practices, dedicated to the deity Sun as it means movement the transmigration of the sun from one constellation of the zodiac to the next according to Indian astronomy. People take a holy dip in rivers, especially Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri. The bathing is believed to result in merit or absolution of past sins.
There are 12 Sankrantis in a year. Each Sankranti is marked as the beginning of a month in the sidereal solar calendars followed in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Tulu Nadu region of Karnataka, Telangana, Punjab, Odisha, Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal. On the other hand, in the sidereal solar Bengali calendar and Assamese calendar, a Sankranti is marked as the end of each month and the day following as the beginning of a new month. Sidereal time is a timekeeping system that astronomers use to locate celestial objects.
One of them Makar Sankranti or Maghi is the most auspicious day, marking the transition of the Sun into Capricorn zodiac (Makara rashi) on its celestial path, and the six-month Uttarayana period. Makar Sankranti is also called as Uttarayana - the day on which the sun begins his northward journey. The date of Makar Sankranti remains constant over a long term, 14 January or occasionally, 15 January due to the addition of one day in leap years. It marks the end of the harsh winter season and the beginning of the harvest season in the Hindu calendar. Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights.
The festivities associated with Makar Sankranti are preceded by Lohri in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, popular amongst both the Hindus and Sikhs, Sukarat in central India, Pongal in Tamil Nadu and other different names celebrated in India. Social festivities are observed such as colourful decorations, rural children going house to house, singing and asking for treats in some areas, melas (fairs), dances, kite flying, bonfires, feasts and sesame sweets. A symbolism for being together in peace and joyfulness, despite the uniqueness and differences between individuals.
Another important is the Mesha Sankranti which marks the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Hindu Solar Calendar. On this day, the sun enters the sidereal Aries and generally falls on 14/15 April. Different regional New Year festivals also take place on this day such as Vishu in Kerala, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Vaisakhi in Punjab, Pana Sankranti in Odisha and more.