Is there any reason or story behind people worshipping Goddess during Makar Sankranti?
Makar Sankranti is among the most auspicious occasions for Hindus and is celebrated in almost all parts of India. Makar Sankranti is the only Indian festival celebrated on a fixed calendric day. All other Indian festivals are celebrated as per the lunar calendar, which make their days of celebration on the solar calendar vary every year. Makar Sankranti marks the change of the Sun into Makara Rashi on its celestial path.
Story behind Makar Sankranti
As per Hindu mythology, on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti, Lord ‘Surya Dev’ visits his son, Lord ‘Shani’, who is considered as the ruling god of Capricorn sun sign. It is a known fact that Lord ‘Shani’ and ‘Surya’ had a conflicting relationship and despite of this on Makar Sankranti, past bitterness is forgotten and new beginnings are made. It is said that if any father visits his son this day, all conflicts are resolved and happiness and prosperity spreads. According to ‘Geeta Saar’, the six months of ‘Uttarayan’ day time of gods are considered holy and people who die during this time attain salvation and go to ‘Krishna Lok’. On the contrary, those who die during the months of ‘Dakshyinayana’ known as the night time of gods, have to be reborn. This day is so auspicious that the wounded ‘Bhishma Pitamah’ left his mortal body and chose salvation or enlightenment. It is believed that those who die on this day will attain ‘Moksha’.
Items required to perform the Makar Sankranti Pooja
A picture or idol of Lord ‘Surya’, Flowers, Coconut, Lamp or ‘diya’, holy Ganga water, Betel leaves, nuts, ‘Akshata’ (mixture of rice and turmeric powder), ‘Prasad’ (any kind of sweet), sugarcane, ‘Baayana’(items distributed to married females).
Steps one can follow while doing Makar Sankranti Pujan
On Makar Sankranti, Lord Surya (Sun) is revered and worshipped. The steps to worship Lord ‘Surya’ are as follows:
- Clean the house completely, especially the praying area.
- The person who will perform the ‘pooja’ should take oil bath early in the morning.
- The person should apply ‘tilak’ of rice flour and ‘roli’ on his forehead.
- Place the idol or Picture of Lord Shani on a platform in the praying room.
- Place ‘thaali’, in front of the idol of lord, which consist of ‘ghevar’, ‘til ladoos’ (both black and white, 4 each) and some money
and offer the same to seek his blessings.
- Sprinkle rice and ‘roli’ on the ‘Baayna’ (things that one intends to donate).
- Worship the deity ‘Surya Dev’ by lighting the lamp and chanting ‘Surya mantra’ 12 times. The Surya Mantra: “Om Hram Hreem Hroum Sah Suryaya Namah”.
- After all the rituals are completed, one needs to distribute ‘Baayna’ to all the married ladies in the family and friends along with the priests.
This was the day Maa Ganaga merged into Sea.King Bhagirath finally did tarpan with the Ganges water for his unfortunate ancestors and thereby liberated them from the curse on Makar Sankranti. After visiting the Patala for the redemption of the curse of Bhagirath’s ancestors Gangaji finally merged in the Sagar. Even today a very big Ganga Sagar Mela is organized every year on this day at the confluence of River Ganges and the Bay of Bengal.