Makar Sakranti/ Utrayan 2023: the very first Hindu festival of 2023
India is famously known for its festivals and the Indian zest with which they are celebrated. Makar Sankranti is the festival that marks the beginning of the New Year. It is a Hindu festival, which falls on the 14th of January every year. It is understood as an amalgamation of two different terms “makar” and “Sankranti”. Makar( Capricorn) is a Hindu zodiac sign and Sankranti stands for direction change. And as per the Hindu calendar, this festival takes place when the sun travels to the North (from Dakshinaayana to Uttarayana) or from Dhanu Rashi(Sagittarius) to Makar Rashi(Capricorn), in the Poush month. This day is believed to be very auspicious for an event to get inaugurated or started, as the lord sun showers special blessings on any task performed on this day. Also, this is celebrated to denote the start of the harvesting season and the culmination of the winter season.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated passionately across India by following different rituals in different parts of India. The north Indians celebrate it by bathing in the Ganges and donating dal (lentil) and rice. They also prepare a dish using rice and dal and call it Khichdi. It is believed that eating khichdi on this day relieves one from many Graha doshas. Allahabad has many believers who participate in the Magh mela held at the bank of Triveni Sangam on this day. In Maharashtra, this is the day when the first harvest of sugarcane commences. People enjoy the day by wearing new clothes, and preparing sweets called til ladoo using sesame seeds and jaggery obtained from the first harvest of sugarcane. This is celebrated in Gujarat as Uttarayan. Utrayan 2023 will be celebrated with people visiting their relatives and friends to exchange greetings and gifts. They fly kites and the sky looks colorful with being decked up with colorful kites. Also, this is celebrated as an international festival of kite flying.
In Andhra Pradesh, this is celebrated under the name of “Pedda Panduga”, which is enjoyed for three complete days. People make beautiful and colorful rangolis at their houses and prepare a dish called Pongal. This dish is offered to the Goddess Sankranti Lakshmi and eaten by people. In Karnataka, people celebrate it by exchanging the first harvest of sugarcane among family and friends. They prepare special dishes using sesame seeds, sugarcane, fried grams, dry coconut, and peanuts. They worship their cattle by bathing and oiling them, decking them up with garlands, and painting their horns. These cattle are also offered Pongal as a feed.
Makar Sankranti is one propitious occasion for Hindus to pray, fast, make offerings to the god, and do charity. Many different customs and rituals make people celebrate the festival in varied ways. Many people organize Shri Satyanarayana Katha on this day as this is considered to be a favorable occasion to offer prayers to Lord Mahavishnu for fulfilling one’s aims and desires. Small lamps are lit under peepal trees and in temples. Also, people worship Lord Saligrama “the divine incarnation of Mahavishnu” and Lord Sun. Utaryan 2023 holds special significance for strengthening the bond between father and son. A home is complete with its people living happily, contented, healthy, and prosperous. Having successful relationships among family members brings a lot of peace to the family environment. And if this suffers in any form, then it becomes a reason for agitation in the family.
So, on this day of Makar Sankranti when the sun transits to the house of Capricorn for a month, one can bring harmony to a problematic father-son relationship. As Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and he is the son of the sun. So, the father stays with his son for a month. Here the son pleases the father by being favorable for improving familial tensions and facilitating respect and awe. So, Vamtantra suggests people conduct Surya and Shani puja to have harmony in the father and son relationship. Apart from this, this puja can alleviate problems of heart, blood pressure, skin, job, confidence, status, fame, childlessness, and others. Many people are also seen doing Surya Graha puja on this day and this helps them to:
- Gain an excellent job or a good service growth graph.
- Get a strong and healthy heart.
- Receive good results in exams.
- Minimize the malefic effect of the afflicted sun.
Though, Makar Sankranti is famous under different names; it holds different importance to different states and its people. And all of them enjoy this festival with great vivacity and enthusiasm.