Sankranthi Habba

According to the solar calendar, a month is determined based on the movement of Sun from one rashi (zodiac sign) to another. There are twelve such signs. This movement is called Sankramana. Sankranthi means Samyak Kranti. Sun’s entry into Makara rashi (Capricorn) is called Makara Sankranthi. Makara means “crocodile”. Kranti means “change”. Makara represents “the materialistic world”. So Makara Sankranti means “moving away from the clutches of the materialistic world.”

In Nirayana calendar, this is the only festival which is related to Sun’s movement. So the main deity is Sun. One should get up early in the morning, have bath and Kolam (dotted rangoli), which symbolises relationship, is drawn in front of the house. Water and flowers are offered to Sun accompanied by the chanting of Gayatri mantra. Rice is boiled in milk outdoors in earthen pots tied with turmeric plants around its neck. This is offered to Sun with other offerings like sugarcane, coconut, banana etc. This is a festival of “thanksgiving” to bulls which help the farmers to plough their agricultural fields. As part of the festival, cattle are given a wash and their horns painted with bright colours, multi-colored beads, tinkling bells, and flower garlands are tied around their and taken in a procession accompanied by band and music. Arati is performed to them. At night, a bonfire is lit and the cattle is made to jump over the fire, called ‘Kichchu’.. to ward off the evil. On Sankranti day, Yellu Bella (sesame + jaggery) also has an important significance. Yellu represents Shani and Bella represents Surya. This is a symbolic bonding of father and son. Yellu brimming with fragrant and delicious oil stands for friendship and comradeship and Bella for the sweetness of speech and behaviour. All tropical crops are also distributed with yellu bella.

Huggi (sweet pongal) is a special food in Sankranti which is prepared with moong dal (green gram), rice, milk and jaggery. In winter season, human skin often becomes dry because of the humidity in the air is substantially low. Sodium along with potassium equalises alkaline factors in the blood and regulates the water balance within the body which is important in maintaining the skin in good health. Rheumatic afflictions are also common in this season. Moong dal in huggi contains carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamin c, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. Potassium and sodium are rich in moong dal.

Historical Significance of Sankranthi

On this day, Lord Vishnu ended the reign of Asuras and buried their heads under the Mandara Parvata. Maharaja Bhagiratha did tapasya to bring River Ganga down to the earth for redemption of sixty thousand sons of Maharaja Sagara who were burnt to ashes at Kapila Muni ashram. Finally, on this Sankranthi day, Bhagirath did tarpan with Ganga water for his unfortunate ancestors. Arjuna started Dhanurvidya (Archery) on this Sankranthi day.

Astrological Significance of Sankranthi

Sun enters the Zodiac sign of Makara, which is the house of his son, Shani. Makara rashi symbolizes peace and contentment. Though, according to vedic sciences, Shani and his father (Sun) are enemies, Sun comes to his son’s house for a period of one month. This shows the special relationship of father and son and son’s responsibility to carry forward his father’s dream.

Scientific Significance of Sankranthi

Earth revolves around the Sun and also rotates on its own axis and has a periodical movement. To complete one elliptic orbit round the Sun, Earth takes one year (365.2422 days). Earth’s equatorial path comprises 360 degrees. These 360 degrees are divided into 12 rashis (zodiac). Earth moves round the Sun in an elliptic path. Every six months, it swings from one end to another. Those two points of transition of Earth are celebrated among Hindu community as Sankramana. Sun’s northern transit is called Makara Sankranti and southern transit is called Karka Sankranti. On January 14 (sometimes on January 15), Sun moves from Dhanu (Sagittarius) to Makara (Capricorn).

 

Copyright 2011 Sankranthi Habba. 2017 Vidyaranya Kannada Kuta
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