Who enters? – Sun
From where to where? – From Dhanur rasi to Makara rasi
How does he enter? – He enters properly such that he never needs to step back
So, it is ‘Sankranti’ today!
But, Sun enters to a different rasi every 30 days! Why is this specific transition celebrated and not others?
Sun really doesn’t move or transition anywhere w.r.t Earth. It is only from what direction and what angle he appears to us that changes. As Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the Sun, each degree of the tilt makes the Sun visible to us from a specific angle. When the Earth begins to tilt at a degree that makes the Sun appear from the North direction, it is called ‘Uttharayanam’ – called the daytime of a year. He appears to us from this direction for 6 months. After
these 6 months, He appears in the south direction ‘Dakshinayanam’ – called the night time of a year.
Beginning this day for the next six months, both the external nature (prakruthi) and our body (as it is made out of the same five elements of the nature), good qualities are with higher energy because it is the daytime (Uttharayanam) of the year. That is why, we celebrate the beginning day of Makara Sankranti
This is also the time when harvest reaches the farmers in our country, a great time to show our gratitude to God for the prosperous yield. Farmers always offer the first serve of the yield to the deity in a local temple. They count not from 1, but as – ‘labham, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6 and a 1, 6 and a 2…’ After offering to God, the yield is celebrated with a gathering at home with relatives. Women and children put Rangoli, muggulu at the entrance ground of the main door with rice flour (not artificially coloured floor) so that they share their happiness with even birds and ants by letting them feed on the flour! Haridas, people singing the name of Lord Hari go along the streets so that we are all reminded of the power behind this entire creation while celebrating the success.
Cattle was used in fields in earlier days and was an integral part of agriculture. Although it still exists, the practice is being shifted to use tractors. However, the feet of cattle is known to work well in agriculture because it increases the fertility of the soil! So, the farmers and the families respected the cattle and they were all also an part of the entire celebration. A harmony that exists around these celebrations shows how well we were integrated with the entire nature and other beings!
– From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami