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January 14 is Makar Sankranti! The festival gets its name from the annual northward movement of the sun (Sanskrit: Shankramana = to begin to move).

To many people, Makar Sankranti ushers in the New Year. Newly-harvested grains are cooked for the first time on that day. Among the Tamils in southern India, Pongal is celebrated around the same time as Makar Sankranti. In Andhra Pradesh, it is observed as Bhogi. Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home. The poor are fed and clothed. On the next day, the cow is worshiped, and birds and animals are fed.

uttarayanBengal's 'Makar Sankranti' entails the preparation of traditional rice-sweets called 'Pittha' and the holy fair - Ganga Sagar Mela at the Ganga Sagar beach. Assam's 'Bihu' involves the early morning worship of Agni, the god of fire followed by a nightlong feast with family and friends.

In Gujarat in western India, the occasion is called 'Uttarayan,' which is famous for its kite flying festival. Enjoy the color, aroma and warmth of these wintertime festivities! Read Full Article...

Comments
January 15, 2008 at 1:29 pm
(1) GANESHBRHILLS says:

I am an amateur astronomer. You have stated that MAKAR SANKRANTHI, UTTARAYANA and PONGAL is the day on which the Sun begins to move northwards. In Astronomy this is known as WINTER SOLSTICE and it occurs between December 20 and 23 in the Northern Hemisphere and between June 20 and 23 in the Southern Hemisphere. Due to the precesssion of the equinoxes, the position of the stars appear to shift approximately ONE DEGREE in 76 years with the result, the “astrological” position of the Sun is more than one constellation behind.

Are we following a hundreds-of-years-old dates?

January 15, 2008 at 1:52 pm
(2) hinduism says:

Hi Ganesh, this is what is meant by the word Makar Sankranti. Following your comment, I have modified the post. Please also visit the following pages, and let me know if you feel it makes sense: http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/aa011001b.htm

http://hinduism.about.com/cs/festivals/a/aa011103a.htm

Await your comments. Thanks!

June 19, 2008 at 1:48 pm
(3) Ganesh says:

Hello!

Thanks for your response; I’m awfully sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner – I live in a remote rural area and have severe problems with my dial-up net-connection.

Well, in the amended page there still seems to be an error, and some confusion.

It was earlier stated that Pongal is celebrated to mark the change from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana (winter solstice)
so I had commented that this event takes place between 20/23 December.

Now, if Pongal is celebrated to mark the crossing of the sun into Capricornus (Makara R‚shi)then this event takes place on the 19th January each year.

Further, before crossing into Capricornus, the Sun was in Saggittarius (Dhanur R‚shi)
and not Cancer (Karkata R‚shi)as you have stated.

[The solar year is divided into Uttar‚yana and Dakshin‚yana. From Makara Sankramana to Kark‚taka Sankramana it is called Uttar‚yana, and from Kark‚taka Sankramana to Makara Sankramana it is called Dakshin‚yana. The Karkataka Sankramana - Sun entering Cancer - occurs on July 20 each year].

The confusion is probably because, Makara Sankranti is the only Hindu festival based on the solar calendar rather than the lunar calendar.

I sincerely hope I haven’t confused you further!

January 10, 2012 at 8:57 am
(4) chandrabhan sharma says:

Hi Ganesh

Thanks for your inputs. Firstly I want to congratulate Royji for the efforts made by these posts…there are really welcomed.

I am happy to see your inputs as there are many things in Hindu astrology that confuses me. You have shed some light on an area that is dark to me and at times seem confusing. Is there any where I can get some more information on Hindu Astrology?

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