Sankranti a festival celebrate in all the region of India and few more countries of South Asia. Sankranti is a Sanskrit world which means transmigration of the sun from one Rashi to another Rashi That mean Sun moves from Dhanu Rashi in to the Makara Rashi as per the Hindu calendar. As the Sankranti is celebrated on the day of transition of Sun from one Rashi to other Rashi, So this day come at 12 time in Indian Hindu Calendar as it has 12 Various Rashies . But this Sankranti is celebrated as the most important Festival in the all region of the India due to the sun enters in the Uttarayana on this auspicious day. Uttarayana Means the sun starts to move towards the northern side and day started to get longer since the day of maker Sankranti. The Shortest day of the year is considered on the 21 days back to the Makar Sankranti that is exactly on 21 to 23 December.
As Sankranti is celebrated in the all region of the India as well as some more countries in South Asia. The various names as per the region in India and in other countries are as follows:
In India it is known by different regional names
- Makar Sankranti or Sankranti - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and West Bengal.
- Uttarayan- Gujarat and Rajasthan
- Maghi - Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab
- Pongal - Tamil Nadu
- Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu - Assam Valley
- Shishur Saenkraat - Kashmir Valley
- Makara Vilakku Festival - Sabarimala Temple (Kerala)
In other countries to the day is celebrated but under different names and in different ways
- In Nepal,
- Tharu people - Maghi
- Other people - Maghe Sankranti or Maghe Sakrati
- In Thailand - Songkran
- In Laos - Pi Ma Lao
- In Myanmar - Thingyan
- In Cambodia - Moha Sangkran
Makar Sankranti is the festival celebrated in Complete South Asia and religion has the various reasons behind each of this, Such Scriptural and Cultural Significance are as follows:
- According to the Puranas, on this day Surya(Sun) visits the house of his son Shani(Saturn), who is the lord of the Makar Rashi(Zodiac Capricorn). Though the father and son duo did not get along well, the Surya made it a point to meet his son on this day. He, in fact, comes to his son’s house, for a month. This day thus symbolizes the importance of the special relationship between father and son.
- From Makar Sankranti starts the ‘day’ of devatas(Gods), while dakshinayana (southward movement of the sun) is said to be the ‘night’ of devatas, so most of the auspicious things are done during this time. Uttarayana is also called as Devayana, and the dakshinayana' is calledPitrayana.
- It was on this day when Lord Vishnu ended the ever increasing terror of the Asuras(Demons) by finishing them off and burying their heads under the Mandara Parvata. So this occasion also represents the end of 'negativities' and beginning of an era of righteous living.
- Maharaja Bhagiratha, performed great penance to bring Ganga down to the earth for the redemption of 60,000 sons of Maharaj Sagar, who were burnt to ashes at the Kapil Muni Ashram, near the present day Ganga Sagar. It was on this day that Bhagirath finally did tarpan with the Ganges water for his unfortunate ancestors and thereby liberated them from the curse. After visiting the Pataala(underworld) for the redemption of the curse of Bhagirath’s ancestors the Ganges finally merged into the sea. A very big Ganga Sagar Mela is organized every year on this day at the confluence of River Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. Thousands of Hindus take a dip in the water and perform tarpan for their ancestors.
- Another well-known reference of this day came when the great grand-sire of Mahabharata fame,Bhishma, declared his intent to leave his mortal coil on this day. He had the boon of Ichha-Mrityu(death at his will) from his father, so he kept lying on the bed of arrows till this day and then left his mortal coil on Makar Sankranti day. It is believed that the person, who dies during the period of Uttarayana, becomes free from transmigration(rebirth). So this day was seen as a definite auspicious day to start a journey or endeavors to the higher realms beyond.
- Sikhs celebrate it as Maghi. The tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh tore the Beydaava written by 40 Sikhs and gave them Mukhti on this day. These 40 Sikhs later came to be known as 40 Mukhtas.
- After giving seven days of speeches before 500 Hindu scholars, Jagadguru Kripalu Maharaj was named fifth Jagadguru (world teacher) on Makar Sankranti Day 1957.