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Makara Sankranti

Makara Sakranti is celebrated on 14 January, was called Lohri in the north of India and corresponds with Feast of the Ass in the West. Cf. Masi Makam Makara Sankranti is also celebrated throughout India as a harvest festival. It is a way of giving thanks to the elements of nature that help man. This is the period when the winter recedes, paving the way for the summer. It is the time the farmers bring home their harvest. In the coast al regions, it is a harvest festival dedicated to Indra. In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated as a three-day harvest festival Pongal. In Assam, the festival is celebrated as Bhogali Bihu, and in Punjab it is called Lohri. according to a popular local belief in the hills of Uttar Pradesh, one who does not bathe on Makara Sankranti is born a donkey in his next birth. http://www.chinmayakids.org/funstore/activities/ideas/default2.htm cf. http://www.hinduism.co.za/makar.htm For the Viashnavites Makara Sakranti occurs in Manumasa. Makar Sankranti signals the end of winter and the onset of spring throughout the northern hemisphere. The period is referred to as Uttarayan Punyakalam and is considered auspicious. For the next six months, the days are longer and warmer. Legend has it that the Devas wake up after a six-month long slumber during this period. ------ There is also a symbolic meaning to Makara Sankranti. ‘Makar’ means crocodile. Sankranti means ‘to cross into or change.’ The ‘Makara’ or crocodile represents the materialistic world and ‘Sankranti’ gives an opportunity to get away from the clutches of the crocodile or the materialistic world. ...Legend also has it that Lord Vishnu buried Asuras on this day beneath the Mandara Mountain. It signifies the end of evil and the dawn of righteousness.... Puranas state that on Makar Sankranti day, Surya visits Lord Shani. In mythology Lord Shani, is the son of Surya. http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/01/significance-of-makar-sankranti.html?showComment=1231817820000 You may also recall how Bhishma chose to lie in state on a bed of arrows till the end of Dakshinayanam, till the winter solstice, or in our calendar, Makara Sankranti http://www.shiva-vishnu.org/BalaBhavan/newsletter/2007/BalabhavanNewsletter_july2007.pdf
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