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[From    Devee Bhaagvat]

Sankraanti means transition. When Sun transits from one Raashi (Zodiac Sign) to another Raashi that day is called Sankraanti. Since the Sun passes through 12 Raashi (signs) every year, there are 12 Sankraanti every year - one Sankraanti every month (because the Sun takes one month to enter another Sign of the Zodiac. Although each Sankraanti has its own importance but two Sankraanti are most important - Makar (Capricorn) Sankraanti and Mesh (Aries) Sankraanti.

Makar Sankraanti
Makar Sankraanti, which usually falls on 14th January, is considered the greatest Sankraanti among all Sankraanti. In Indian astrology, although Sankraanti is always a holy and important festival, but Makar (Capricorn) Sankraanti, which usually falls on 14th January, is considered the most important Sankraanti among all the Sankraanti, because on this day Soorya's path becomes Uttaraayan (northward), and is celebrated by taking bath in Gangaa River, or Sangam (Prayaag) and  giving all kinds of charity and donations. It is believed that donations given on this day are immortal in their fruit - means they continue for all our lives, they are Akhand (unbroken) and Akshaya (indestructible).

This is a kind of New Year day, marking the termination of an inauspicious month, Paush (December of Solar calendar). Now from this day, the Sun turns towards North. According to Hindu scriptures, Uttaraayan period is Devtaa's day time, and Dakshinaayan period is their night. Since Makar Sankraanti is the beginning of Uttaraayan, it is the morning of Devtaa, and thus they receive their morning offerings. Indian calendar is Lunar calendar For the dwellers of the Earth Sun is always marked a big news. According to this calendar the Sun enters Makar Raashi in mid-January. This is the time when the Sun begins to be Uttaraayan, his journey towards Nort - or Makar Snkraanti.

In the same way on Kark (Cancer) Sankraanti on 13th or 14th July Soorya's path becomes Dakshinaayan (southward).

Sign Sankraanti English Months Hindi Lunar Months
Makar (Capricorn) Sankraanti  14th January Maagh Sankraanti
Kumbh (Aquarius) Sankraanti 14th February    Phaalgun Sankraanti
Meen (Pisces) Sankranti 14th March Chaitra Sankraanti
Mesh (Aries) Sankraanti  13th April Vaishaakh Sankraanti
Vrish (Taurus) Sankraanti 13th May Jyeshth Sankraanti
Mithun (Gemini) Sankraanti 13th June Aashaadh Sankraanti
Kark (Cancer) Sankraanti 13th July Shraavan Sankraanti
Sinh (Leo) Sankraanti 13th August Bhaadrapad Sankraanti
Kanyaa (Virgo) Sankraanti 13th September  Aashwin Sankraanti
Tulaa (Libra) Sankraanti 13th October Kaarttik Sankraanti
Vrishchik (Scorpio) Sankraanti 13th November Maargsheersh Sankraanti
Dhanu (Sagittarius) Sankraanti 13th December Paush Sankraanti

When a Sankraanti falls on Shukla Saptamee,  it is called Mahaajayaa or Soorya Priyaa Sankraanti.

Time of Bhagavaan's Sleeping and Waking up
When Soorya enters Kark Raashi (Cancer sign - on July Sankraanti), Bhagavaan sleeps; and 
When Soorya enters Tulaa Raashi (Libra sign - on October Sankraanti), Bhagavaan wakes up.

Other Significances
(1) Puraan say that on Makar Sankraanti, Soorya Dev visits his son, Shani who is the Swaamee (Lord) of Makar Raashi (Capricorn). These father and son do not get along nicely, but in spite of all kinds of differences, Soorya Dev makes a point to visit his son on this day and stays there for a month. This symbolizes that it is the son's responsibility to carry forward his father's dream and continuity of the family, that is what Soorya Dev comes to him to request this.

(2) From this day, Makar Sankraanti day, Uttaraayan (Soorya's path towards Northward) starts, so this is Devtaa's day time, and from the Kark Sankraanti (July Sankraanti) Dakshinaayan starts which is Devtaa's night. Uttaraayan is called Devayaan and Dakshinaayan is called Pitrayaan. All auspicious things are done only during Uttaraayan.

(3) On Makar Sankraanti day, King Bhageerath did Tarpan of his 60,000 grandfathers by Gangaa water. A great fair is organized to commemorate this event at Gangaa Saagar, near Kalkattaa.

(4) On Makar Sankraanti day, Bheeshm left his mortal body. As he had the boon of Ichchhaa Mrityu, he chose this auspicious day to die and got released from the cycle of rebirth.
Dhanu (Sagittarius), Mithun (Gemini), Meen (Pisces) and Kanya (Virgo) signs Sankraanti are called Shadasheeti Sankraanti; and
Vrish (Taurus) Vrishchik (Scorpio), Kumbh (Aquarius), and Sinh (Leo) signs Sankraanti are called Vishnupadee Sankraanti.

Any Punya Karm (Daan etc) done in Shadsheeti Sankraanti gives 86,000 times fruits; and in Vishnupadee Sankraanti gives 100,000 (1 Lakh) times, and on Uttaraayan and Dakshinaayan Sankraanti gives millions of times. This Punya Karm, done on Uttaraayan and Dakshinaayan Sankraanti is eternal. On Makar (Capricorn) Sankraanti, in January, one should take bath before sunrise - this gives the fruit of 10,000 cows donation.

The Triteeyaa (third day) of Shukl Paksh of Maagh Maas is called Manvantar Tithi. Who donates anything on that day, it is all indestructible."
[Padm Puraan, 1/32]

There are 12 Sankraanti divided like this  ---        
Two Ayan (January and July), and two Vishuv (April and September) - these four Sankraanti
Four Shadasheeti-mukhaa Sankraanti - Dhanu, Mithun, Meen and Kanyaa
Four Vishnupadee Sankraanti  - Vrish, Vrishchik, Kumbh, and Sinh

Shadasheeti Mukhaa Sankraanti give fruits 86 times more.
--For January and July Sankraati Ateet and Anaagat (previous and later) Ghatikaa are considered Punya. Makar Sankraanti's 20-20 Ghadee and Kark Sankraanti's 30-30 Ghadee, are good for Punya Karm.
--For Tualaa and Mesh Sankraanti, their 10-10 Ghadee before and after, time is good for Punya.
--For Dhanu, Mithun, Meen and Kanyaa Sankraanti, 60 Ghadee later time is good for Punya.
--For Vrish, Vrishchik, Kumbh and Sinh Sankraanti, 16-16 Ghadee time is considered Punya Kaal.
[Agni Puraan, 24, p 395]

[Ghadee = 24 minutes]

Vedaang Jyotish says that in 1400 BC we had no Makar Sankraanti.
[In 500 AD (2000 years later) we had one Makar Sankraanti - Varaahmihir]
[In 2000 AD (1500 years later) we have two Makar Sankraanti - Saayan and Niraayan]
[With this corollary, in 3000 AD (1000 years later) we will have 3 Makar Sankraanti - Saayan, Niraayan and Coordinated.]

Makar Sankraanti

Makar Sankranti is the most important Sankraanti. It is normally celebrated since the morning hours of the day when rising Sun is transiting in Capricorn sign or it has already entered Capricorn Sign before Sunrise on that particular day and date. In this regard reading of Ephemeris based on Swiss Ephemeris is considered authentic. Its authenticity is verified many times when correct timing of Solar Eclipse for many places have been displayed and other predictions have been found correct up to minute and second. In year 2012 when we apply KP New Ayanaansh:23/56/06 Sun entered sign of Capricorn on January 14th at about 10:43:53PM (IST) at Kaasheepur, Uttaraakhand, India. At this moment the Sun is transiting in sign of Capricorn at 00/00/00 or say in Saturn-Sun-Raahu-Saturn. Hence in India the Makar Sankranti of 2012 is celebrated on 15th January in the morning.

Why Do We Eat and Donate Til on Makar Sankraanti Day
Shani, in whose House, the Sun, his father, enters, loves Til (sesame seeds) and has a weakness for those!
Father enters estranged Son's home (Makar or Capricorn Sign) and offers Til Laddoo and the misguided and feeling estranged son (Shani) accepts those from him and the Father Sun continues on his journey that brings increasingly more light (longer days and shorter nights!) to us.
Best watched and understood from Northern hemisphere perspectives! Not so much from around equator or less so from even southern latitudes!!


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 12/17/12