HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 8.1
8. Makara Shankranti-1.
SALUTATIONS and adorations to the Supreme Lord, the primordial power that divided the year into the four seasons.
Salutations to Surya, the Sun-God, who on this great day embarks on his northward journey.
The Sanskrit term “Shankramana” means “to begin to move”.
The day on which the sun begins to move northwards is called Makara Shankranti.
It usually falls in the middle of January.
Among the Tamilians in South India this festival is called the Pongal.
To many people, especially the Tamilians, Makara Shankranti ushers in the New Year.
The corn that is newly-harvested is cooked for the first time on that day.
Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home.
Servants, farmers and the poor are fed and clothed and given presents of money.
On the next day, the cow, which is regarded as the symbol of the Holy Mother, is worshipped.
Then there is the feeding of birds and animals.
To be continued ...