India is the land of festivals. The year 2021 starts with Makar Sankranti (14th January) which is officially the onset of spring. Mainly a harvest festival, Makar Sankranti is celebrated throughout the country. In the southern states like Tamil Nadu, this day is known as Pongal, in Gujarat and Rajasthan it is known as Uttarayana and in Haryana and Punjab as Maghi.
While most Hindu festival dates are based on the lunar calendar and follow the moon’s position, it is not the case with Makar Sankranti. Based on the solar calendar, it is one of those festivals that falls on the same day every year. It marks the movement (Sankranti means movement) of the sun in the Capricorn (Makar) sign.
2021 Makar Sankranti Muhurat
Makara Sankranti Punya Kala – 08:30 AM to 06:21 PM
Duration – 09 Hours 51 Mins
Makara Sankranti Maha Punya Kala – 08:30 AM to 10:21 AM
Duration – 01 Hour 51 Mins
Makar Sankranti Puja and RitualsMakar Sankranti puja is usually performed after sunrise. You need to place a coconut on a tray along with betel nuts (सुपारी) and leaves. Sprinkle some holy water on it. Light the lamp and pray to Lord Ganesha for happiness, good health and prosperity. Also, remember Lord Sun, offer Naivedhya to him. After performing the puja, Naivedhya (the food offered to the deity) is distributed among people. It is considered auspicious to offer charity or Dakshina of 14 items such as blankets, fans, thermos flasks, torches and utensils to 14 brahmins. The day of Sankranti is considered to be the symbol of ethics, virtue and religion but the night is considered evil. Hence, you should perform all auspicious deeds during the day time, especially during the Punya Kaal Muhurat if possible.
Significance of Makar SankrantiThere are different legends behind Makar Sankranti celebration.
- As per the Puranas, it is believed that Lord Sun visits his son, Lord Shani (the lord of Makar zodiac sign) on this day. This day celebrates the bond shared between a father and a son.
- Some believe that Makar Sankranti celebrates the victory of Lord Vishnu over the Asuras. Lord Vishnu ended the tension caused by Asuras on Prithvi Lok by cutting their heads off and burying them under Mandara Parwat.
- Makar Sankranti is also known as the harvest festival, meant to celebrate the fresh harvest of the season. Pongal is celebrated in Tamil Nadu to acknowledge the hard work and contribution of farm animals to gain fruitful harvest every year.