|14 January 2017, Makar Sankranti|
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India is a country of festivals. Many traditions and customs are associated with our country. Moreover all these traditions bear many special sgnificances. Some of the traditions have relgious beliefs and traditions associated with it while others have scientific reasons behind it. Their importance cannot be denied.
Months are devided into two categories according to Indian panchang. The first one is Krishna paksh and the second one is Shukla paksh. In the same way, an year is also categorised into two parts- Uttarayana and Dakshinayan. When Sun makes a transition from one zodiac sign to another, then that process is termed as Sankranti. Capricorn is one zodiac sign and during posh month, on this day, Sun comes out of Sagitarrius zodiac sign and enters the capricorn sign. For this reason, this festival is termed as Makar Sankranti. Though this festival is celebrated on the 14th date of January month.However, for some reasons , their is a slight change in the date. The festival is celebrated on the day when their is a complete transformation of Sun to Capricorn zodiac sign. Basically, it follows solar calender. On the other hand, other festivals are calculated based on the lunar calender. The cycle changes after every eight years. During that period, this festival is celebrated a day late. From the day of Makar Sankranti, the uttarayan movement of Sun begins.Uttarayan is also termed as the “day of Gods”.The day symbolises optimism.In various parts of the country, many people start paying a visit to pilgrimages. Maagh mela begins during this period in Uttar Pradesh. Shabrimela is celebrated in Kerala. Many people take a bath in various holy rivers during this day. There is a strong belief that by doing this, one can wash his sins. For this reason, one should make donations, do hawan -puja, bath, shraadh, tarpan like religious activities. These things bear special significance. Various states celebrate this festival in different ways. The festival is termed as Makar Sankranti in different parts of India. Furthermore, it is termed as Pongal in TamilNadu, Uttarayan in Gujarat, Maaghi in Punjab and Bihu in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerela. It is also termed as Khichdi in Uttar Pradesh. This is one single festival which is celebrated across the entire nation in different ways and with different names. Nepal, Thailand, Myanmaar, Cambodia and Sri Lanka like countries celebrate this festival with complete faith and excitement the festival of Makar Sankranti along with India.
Religious Reasons- Probably, Shri Ram started the tradition of kite flying. Tulsidas ji mentioned this in Ramcharit Manas in Balyakaal.
“Ram aekdin chang urai
Indralok mai pahoochi jayee”
According to a Tamilian scritutre, Tandnaanramayana, during Makar Sankranti when Shri Ram flew the kite in the sky, it reached Indralok. After watching the kite, the wife of Indra's son started thinking...
“Jaasu chang as sundartayee
So purush jag mai adhikayee”
As this thought came into her mind, she captured the kite and thought that whoever was flying the kite will definetely come to me to grab it. After this, she started waiting. Shri Ram was a very young child at that time. When he failed to find his kite in the sky, he sent Lord Hanuman to find its exact location . Shri Hanuman was also a child. Pawan putra Hanuman flew in the sky and reached Indralok. There he saw a lady holding the kite in her hands. Child Hanuman asked for the kite. Then the wife of Jayant asked Hanuman that whose kite he is asking for? Hanuman ji told the name of Shri Ramchandraji. Thereafter the wife of Jayant expressed her interest in taking a glimpse/darshan of Shri Ram. Hanumanki came back after hearing her words and told the entire incidence to Shri Ram. Shri Ram again sent Shri Hanuman to Indralok after telling him that he would definetely meet her in Chitrakoot. Then Hanumanji came back and told the incidence to the wife of Jayant. She gave him the kite from her hands. Its well said...
“Tin tab sunat turant hi, dinhi chor patang
khench layee prabhu baeg hi, khelat balak sang”
Scientific Reason- Since we are less exposed to sunlight during winters, our body loses immunity as a result many germs attack our body and we become ill. Furthermore, we do not come to know that our immunity is down and we are attacked by diseases suddenly. Furthermore, our skin becomes dry. We all know that the rays of sun are very beneficial, and duringMakar Sankranti, when Sun is in uttarayan state, its rays act as a wonder drug. They are just equivalent to sanjivani. If an individual flies kite on this day, our body gets exposed to Sun directly and many germs get killed and toxins are removed. This is the biggest reason we fly kites on the this auspicious day.
Til- Gur- The laddoos of Til-Gur are an integral part of Makar Sankranti. The festival can't be celebrated in absence of this. As sweets are prepared at home or bought from the market on other festivals, similarly, the laddoos of til-gur are prepared and eaten at home on the occassion of Makar Sankranti. People like eating this delicious sweet very much. It is very sumptuous in taste. There is a scientific reason behind eating this sweet too. During winters, our body needs warmth to survive. The sweets of til-gur proffersan individual's body the requisite heat. Til is rich in oil content. By eating this, out body intakes oil in required amount. During winters our body becomes dry and this provides smoothness to our body. Similarly jaggery or gur also gives heat to our body. For this reason the sweets are prepared by mixing both of the ingredients. The sweet of til and gur not only protects our body from excessive cold but are very delicious too. Til or seasame is unique Seasame seeds have mono-saturated fatty acids. These seeds decreases the bad cholestrol in our body and increases the amount of good cholesterol or H.D.L. Its seeds reduces the chances of cardiac arrest. Til or seasam has an ingredient by the name of sasmin which is an excellent anti-oxidant. It prevents the multiplication of cancerous cells in the body. Furthermore, it decreases the lifespan of cancerous cells. It safeguards an individual from multiplication of such cancerous cells. Its seeds are highly useful for the patients of lung cancer, stomach cancer, leukaemia, prostate cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer. Niacin named vitamin is present in its seeds. Its seeds reduce the stress and gangarine in our body too. There are many significant minerals present in the body like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. These minerals assist in smooth functioning of vital organs. It also assist the heart in beating on its normal pace. Seasame seeds are highly important for providing strength to the bones and muscles. According to Ayurveda, by giving massage by its oil, the babies have a sound sleep. 100 grams of seasame seeds contains approximately 18-19 percent protein. The oil offers high nutrition and is very good for the development of the babies. Its oil is rich in folic acid. It is very useful for pregnant ladies. It offers strength and good health to them. Seasame seeds are also rich in zinc and calcium which reduces the possibility of osteoporosis. It not only prevents high blood pressure but its anti-glycemic effect reduces the glucose content in blood to 36 percent when it combines with some high quality diabetic medicine named glybeclemied. Sesame seeds are highly beneficial for Type- 2 diabetic patients.
The khichdi of Makar Sankranti- Khichdi is prepared in each and every home of India. It is prepared by mixing and boiling rice and daal together.It is eaten with ghee, pickles, papad and curd. Urad pulses have a high content of carbohydrates, proteins. Fiber, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, amino acids and potassium like nutritive content. When fresly prepared khichdi is eaten with ghee, it offers the individuals micro-nutrients, proteins and fats.You can make it further healthy by adding fresh vegetables. Patients of glutin allergy can also eat it. This means those who are allergic to wheat, barley and mustard ( rai) can eat it without being worried. It maintains a balance of vaat, pitt and cough in an individual's body. Khichdi is easily digestible. People who usually suffer from bad digestion should also eat khichdi. It offers great relief to them. If you have weak digestion, then add some drops of lemon juice and give to the patient. Infants of 10-11 months have a very weak metabolism and should also be offered khichdi to eat. The food is not only sumptuous but very healthy for everyone.