This year, Makara Sankranti will be celebrated on 14th January which is Saturday. The Punyakaal Muhurat starts at 07:50 am and continues till 06:17pm. The Maha Punyakaal Muhurat is starts at 07:50 am and ends at 08:14 am. All auspicious and religious activities like taking the holy dip/bath, making offerings to Suryadev (Sun God), offering charity or donations, etc. are done in this time period.
Meaning & Significance:
Makara Sankranti is an important astrological and astronomical event in the Hindu calendar. ‘Makara’ means ‘Capricorn’ and ‘Sankranti’ means shifting (Sankramana) of the Sun from one zodiac sign to the next. It marks the end of the winter solstice and indicates the transition of the Sun from the celestial sign of Dhanu(Sagittarius) to Makara(Capricorn) on its cosmic path. This is the day of the longest night and the shortest day.
Makara Sankranti, being an event related to the movement of the Sun, is one of the few Indian festivals which falls on the same date nearly every year, viz. 14th (sometimes 15th) January. This usually coincides with the first or second ‘tithi’ (date) of Krishna Paksha (Waning Moon) of the Hindu month of Magha. Hence, the holy dip in rivers on this occasion is also known as ‘Magha Snaana’.
Makara Sankranti also marks the beginning of the auspicious period of ‘Uttarayana’ (believed to be the ‘day’ of the Gods)’ thereby indicating the beginning of a six month period of prosperity and good fortune. This event strikingly corresponds to the 6 months day at North Pole after winter solstice. The Sun starts moving northwards now – from Tropic of Capricorn towards Tropic of Cancer - and days start becoming longer and warmer.
Makara Sankranti also marks the beginning of the Kumbha Mela and the end of the Shabrimala pilgrimage.
Makara Sankranti is celebrated since the times of the Aryans and continues to be so even today in different parts of India in different ways and by different names. In North Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, it is celebrated as Lohri festival; it is called Magha Saaji in Himachal Pradesh. In Uttar Pradesh it is celebrated as Khichdi festival. In Bihar it is known as Til Sankranti. In Tamil Nadu it is called Pongal, Suggi in Karnataka; while in Assam, it is celebrated as Magh Bihu and Bhogal Bihu. Besides India, Makara Sankranti is also celebrated in many other Asian countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Beliefs and Legends:
The sign of Makara (Capricorn) is ruled by Shani (Saturn). Surya (Sun) is believed to be the father of Saturn. Yet they are bitter adversaries of each other. Saturn is said to dislike everything which is attributed to the Sun. it is believed that on Makara Sankranti day, the Suryadev (Sun God) forgets his anger and animosity and visits his son - Shanidev (Saturn)’s house. Hence the practice of distributing and eating ‘Til Gud’ – an Indian sweet made of sesame (representing Shani) and jaggery (representing Surya) started – representing joyful and sweet bonding of adversaries.
Sesame seeds play a very significant role in the celebration of Makara Sankranti due to association with Saturn (Shani). For the same reasons, black clothes (which are otherwise considered inauspicious) are purchased, worn and donated on this day. An evidence of the auspiciousness and significance of this festival can be found in an incident of the epic story, Mahabharata. The grand old Bhishma Pitamah was fatally wounded on the battlefield. He had the boon of ‘Ichha Mrityu’ i.e. he could choose when to leave this mortal body. He is said to have waited for 58 days lying on a bed of arrows so that he could die on the auspicious day of when the Uttarayana began that is MAKARA SANKRANTI DAY. It is believed those who die during Uttarayana attain nirvana (redemption).
Makara (Capricorn) represents the tenth house of the astrological chart. The tenth house is considered to be the strongest Kendra or Angular House. Sun is one of the Karakas or significators of the tenth house where it also get ‘Dig Bala’ (Directional Energy). Also, Saturn too is one of the Karakas or significators of the tenth house. So when Sun enters Capricorn, it is one Karaka/significator entering the house of another Karaka/significator – no wonder, this occurrence is considered very significant and propitious. This event symbolizes the combination of energy, vigour, and leadership attributes of the Sun with the practicality, focused concentration, thoughtfulness and patience of Saturn.
Significance of donation during Makara Sankranti:
Rituals and customs of celebrating Makara Sankranti may vary from region to region. But the common feature underlining celebrations everywhere is the importance of Japa-Tapa-Snana-Dana-Tarpan (Chanting-Meditation-Holy Bath-Donations-Offerings to the deceased ancestors).
It is believed that the Gods wake up on this day after 6 months of sleep (1 day of Gods = 6 terrestrial months). Hence it’s the time for new auspicious beginnings and celebrations. Hence offerings are made to Sun – the life giver. It is also believed that whatever is donated on this day comes back multifold. The logic behind this is: let everyone partake in the prosperity and abundance.
Donations not only help one to earn blessings, but also help to mitigate the adverse effects of the malefic planets in the person’s kundli (Birth Chart).
Anyone who is facing problems due to adverse Sun or Saturn, who is undergoing Sade Saati or Shani Dhaiyya or Panouti or the Dasha of Sun/Saturn, Pitra Dosha shall benefit by donating the related things on this day.
It is believed that childless couples can benefit by fasting on this day and donating til (sesame seeds) and til products after offering water to the Sun.
Those facing serious or multiple problems in their lives – be it mental, physical or finanacial- can do tula daan on this day i.e. donate articles equivalent to their body weight.
Cleansing oneself before making offerings is also obligatory. Hence people take dip in holy waters of Ganga, Yamuna or whichever local river is there in the vicinity. Those who do not have access to rivers mix sesame seeds and Gangajal to their bathing water.
It is best if the offerings are made to a needy person/s and are done unannounced. Gold, ghee (Clarified butter), sesame seeds, cow/ox, blankets, clothes, jaggery are the main items donated on this day. Another very important thing donated and distributed is ‘Khichdi’ – a mixture of rice, lentils and vegetables.
Recommended donations for different Rashis(Zodiac signs):
Note: Til i.e. sesame seeds and Jaggery can be and should be donated by all the signs.
- Aries : Mosquito nets, Masoor dal (Red Lentils), Land
- Taurus : Woollen clothes, Cow/Ox, Adornment items for young girls
- Gemini : Mosquito nets, Moong (Green Gram), Clothes, Almonds
- Cancer : Sabudana (Sago), Woollen clothes, Ghee (Clarified Butter)
- Leo : Mosquito nets, Blankets, Gold, Money, Coal
- Virgo : Blankets, Oil, Urad (Black Gram), Cow, Almonds
- Libra : Mosquito nets, Mustard, Oil, Clothes, Green vegetables
- Scorpio : Kacchi Khichdi (A mixture of raw rice and lentils), Blankets
- Sagittarius : Channa Dal (Split Bengal gram), Books, Ghee, Vehicle
- Capricorn : Books, Blankets, Oil, Green vegetables, Haldi (Turmeric)
- Aquarius : Oil, Soap, Comb, Clothes, Scent, Money
- Pisces : Mosquito nets, Chana (Bengal Gram), Sabudana (Sago), Blankets
Astrological Impact of Different Signs:
Work responsibilities will increase. You will get new opportunities to showcase your talents. Your efforts and hard work will win you appreciation in the form of increments and promotions. Those desirous of joining a Government job or Civil Services shall be successful. Transfer or change of job is indicated. Avoid investing in real estate.
Courage and confidence will rise making it possible for you to make the most of the available opportunities. Time is promising for new business partnerships. You may go on religious tours, long travels and ever overseas trips. Relationships with father may improve. You are likely to purchase a new vehicle or some item of luxury.
Foreign contacts and travels will bring in business. Subordinates create problems for you. Hidden enemies my trouble you. Health will suffer. You may suffer from unexpected losses. Clandestine affairs may come out in the open. Arguments will disrupt domestic harmony. Conjugal life will be disturbed. Those doing research or pursing doctorate shall be successful.
Increased confidence and self-esteem will help you to accept new challenges and subdue your opponents. Career shall progress. Health will improve. You may have to live away from your spouse due to work related travels. Avoid ego clashes with partners. Children shall be the source of happiness. Keep a check on your words.
This is a fortunate period for you. You will be able to manage your life better now. You shall be able to complete all your assignments efficiently. You shall be able to overcome challenges and defeat your adversaries. This is the time to learn new skills. Loans will be repaid. Status will rise. Health will improve.
Creativity will increase and you will come up with original ideas. However, efforts may not produce the desired results. Businessmen should be cautious in their dealings. Keep away from speculations. Health of children may be a cause of concern. Maintain amiable relations with your subordinates and authoritative figures. Students may be distracted and neglect studies.
Home life may be adversely affected. Ego clashes and arguments will destroy domestic harmony. Try to improve relations with parents. You may have to undertake some repair or renovation work at home. Travel to distant places is possible. Some health problems may arise suddenly. Mother’s health may suffer. Meditation would help to maintain calm.
Finances will improve. A new source of income can open up. Travels for business or work related purpose are possible. This is a good time to improve your relations with your neighbors and siblings. Social networking and communications will improve. You shall be able to express your ideas and concepts in a very impressive manner.
This is a fortunate time for finance and career. Unexpected gains are possible. Partnerships will be successful. You may purchase some new thing of comfort for your family. Misunderstandings among family members are likely. You may be cheated by someone close. You will need to keep a check on your hotheaded behavior and rash speech.
You will now be in the spotlight. You shall be able to communicate and express yourself in a very impressive way. Confidence and boldness will rise. Differences of opinions could arise with boss or seniors. Keep a check on your ego and temper. Time is good to make new beginnings. You may suffer from headaches and fevers.
Be careful in partnership business. Expenditures will rise and cause mental stress. Problems may arise in your conjugal life. Lack of mutual understanding can strain your relationships. Long distance travels are probable. Erratic work schedules will disturb your health. You need a break to relax your nerves. This is not a good time to start anything new.
Finances will improve and career will progress. A wish shall be fulfilled. Income and profits will increase. Gain through enemies is possible. Friends will be very supportive. Social life will be bright. You will now be in a more commanding position. Love life may be disturbed. Children’s health may be a cause of concern.