Q:

Why do we celebrate Makar Sankranti?

A:

Quick Answer

Makar Sankrati is a Hindu holiday celebrating the sun god's ascendancy into the northern hemisphere. Unlike other holidays, Makar Sankrati is celebrated on the same day every year because it follows the solar calendar. Another name for the holiday is Uttarayan, which refers specifically to the day the sun begins its journey. Although it is celebrated throughout the country, specific traditions and rituals vary based on region.

Know More
Why do we celebrate Makar Sankranti?
Credit: Sanhita Bhattacharjee Moment Open Getty Images

Full Answer

The name "Makar Sankrati" refers to the sun's transition from Sagittarius to Capricorn. Uttarayan can also refer to the six-month journey of the sun's passage, which is a period that is also considered auspicious for anyone seeking to transcend the physical world. After Makar Sankrati, the days start becoming longer and warmer, marking the end of winter.

Makar Sankrati is also known as the festival of thanksgiving and is somewhat comparable to the western New Year's Day, when people resolve to start anew and move on from past failures. People appreciate each other and pay homage to the sun god, who generously gives life without accepting reward.

Makar Sankrati holds significant religious importance. In Indian mythology, the hero Maharaj Bhagirath managed to liberate and redeem the 60,000 sons of Maharaj Sagar on this day.

Learn more in Hinduism

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why does Shiva have four arms?

    A:

    Shiva has four arms because they represent the four cardinal directions. Each of Shiva's hands either hold an object or are shown making a specific gesture.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is "moksha" in Hinduism?

    A:

    In Hinduism, "moksha" is the completion of the soul's cycle of birth, death and reincarnation. It is considered by many Hindus to be the ultimate goal, or the fourth and final "artha."

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who wrote the Bhagavad Gita?

    A:

    The Bhagavad Gita is part of the Mahabharata, which was written by the sage Vyasa. In addition to being the author, he is also a major character in the Mahabharata, although not the Gita.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Which foods are restricted among Hindus?

    A:

    The dietary restrictions of Hindus vary among practitioners: nearly all abstain from eating beef, and some follow a predominantly vegetarian diet, while others, such as Shaktas, consume meat, provided it comes from animals sacrificed in rituals. Among Hindus, Shaivites and Shaktas have the most lenient diets and may include meat products in their meals, while more conservative Hindu branches such as Vaishna abide by theological rules that dictate permissible and impermissible foods.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore