Description: This article provides information about how to celebrate the Hindu festival Makar Sankrāntī.
Every eighty years, the difference created due to the revolution of the Earth around the sun is made up by postponing Makar Sankranti by a day. Makar Sankranti 2015 falls on 14th January. Makar Sankranti is celebrated differently in different parts of Bharat (India). In this article, we will explain some ways of celebrating Makar Sankranti.
People usually celebrate Makar Sankranti according to their local customs; however, the following points can help in celebrating this day in spiritually beneficial ways.
- Increase sāttviktā: On this day, there is increased Chaitanya in the environment. Hence, one should avoid activities that increase Raja-Tama; for example drinking alcohol, eating meat, etc., and one should perform activities which will increase sattvikta so as to derive the benefits of the increased Chaitanya. E.g. visiting a temple, attending a satsang, reading spiritual books, etc.
- Increase sādhanā: Makar Sankranti is very conducive for sadhana; hence one should try to do maximum sadhana on this day. E.g. chanting the Name of God, performing satsēvā , etc.
- Holy bath: On Makar Sankranti, a Holy bath at any Holy place on the banks of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Krushna, Godavari, etc. yields great merits. However, in the absence of any such place, when having a bath at home, one can keep bhāv (spiritual emotion) that the water is from Holy Rivers and one is at a Holy place. A bath with sesame seeds helps purify our body. (One can put a handful of sesame seeds in a bucket of hot water, and pour this water on the body).
- Donations and offerings: The period from Makar Sankranti (14 January in 2014) to Rathsaptami (6 February in 2014) is called a Transition period (Parvakāl or sandhikāl). Any offerings / donations (dān) and meritorious acts done during this period definitely yield fruit. One can donate items like new utensils, clothes, food, sesame seeds, gold, land, etc. While giving the donation, one can chant the Name of God. One can also donate money for spreading Spirituality and Dharma in society.
- Gift spiritual items: In some parts of Bharat, women organize haldī-kumkum. It is a custom to give some offerings known as ‘vaan’. These days, the ‘vaan’ consists of non-sāttvik items such as plastic items, soaps, etc. Instead, one should give items which will be useful for spiritual purposes, like incense sticks, Holy Scriptures, books on Spirituality, pictures of Deities, etc. It will help the person receiving the ‘vaan’, derive spiritual benefits of Makar Sankranti.
- On Makar Sankranti, one should avoid speaking foul language or words and avoid situations that generate sexual feelings.
Celebrating festivals in a way that attracts sattvikta and Chaitanya and reduces Raja-Tama in the environment increases overall sattvikta in the society. When the sattvikta of the society increases, the influence of the negative energies on us reduces considerably, thereby reducing the problems caused by the negative energies. In a way, through these celebrations, our spiritual practice for the sake of society (samashti sadhana) happens and our spiritual progress happens rapidly.