Makar Sankranti is an important festival celebrated by Hindus in India. It marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makar Rashi) and the beginning of the auspicious period of Uttarayan. There has been some confusion regarding the date of Makar Sankranti in 2024, with conflicting information about whether it falls on January 14th or 15th. In this article, we will clarify the date and provide insights into the significance of this festival.
Makar Sankranti 2024 Date: January 14th or 15th?
According to the Panchang (Hindu calendar), Makar Sankranti is usually observed on January 14th. However, in 2024, Makar Sankranti will be celebrated on January 15th. This discrepancy is due to the alignment of the celestial bodies and the movement of the sun. It is important to follow the authoritative sources such as the Panchang or reliable religious institutions to determine the accurate date for the festival.
The Significance of Makar Sankranti:
Makar Sankranti holds great religious and cultural significance in Hinduism. It marks the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of longer days. Devotees believe that on this day, the sun visits the house of Lord Shani, his son, which is why it is considered an auspicious occasion. The festival also marks the harvest season, signifying the importance of agriculture in Indian culture.
Rituals and Customs Associated with Makar Sankranti:
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with various rituals and customs across different regions of India. People take holy dips in rivers such as the Ganges and Yamuna to cleanse their sins and seek blessings. They offer prayers to Lord Surya (the sun god) and perform charitable acts. One popular custom is to fly kites, symbolizing the freedom of the soul and the arrival of spring. Traditional sweets and dishes, such as til ladoo and khichdi, are prepared and shared with loved ones.
Is Makar Sankranti a nationwide festival?
- Yes, Makar Sankranti is celebrated across India with great enthusiasm and cultural diversity.
What is the significance of khichdi on Makar Sankranti?
- Khichdi holds special significance on Makar Sankranti as it is believed to bring prosperity and good luck.
Can women observe fasting on Makar Sankranti?
- Yes, women can observe fasting on Makar Sankranti to seek blessings and show devotion.
Are there any regional variations in the way Makar Sankranti is celebrated?
- Yes, different regions have their unique customs and traditions associated with Makar Sankranti. For example, in Maharashtra, it is celebrated as “Makar Sankranti” while in Tamil Nadu, it is known as “Pongal.”
What is the spiritual significance of flying kites on Makar Sankranti?
- Flying kites is believed to symbolize the letting go of past burdens and embracing new beginnings, allowing the soul to soar freely.
In conclusion, Makar Sankranti is a significant festival that celebrates the transition of the sun into Capricorn. While the date of Makar Sankranti in 2024 may cause confusion, it will be observed on January 15th. This festival holds immense cultural and religious importance, and people across India celebrate it with various rituals and customs. It is a time to seek blessings, perform acts of charity, and welcome the harvest season with joy and enthusiasm.