तत्त्द् गतिवशन्नित्यं यथा दृक्-तुल्यतां ग्रहाः।
प्रयान्ति तत्प्रवक्ष्यामि स्फ़ुटिकरणमादरात्॥
सुर्य सिद्धान्त ॥

यस्मिन् पक्षे यत्र काले येन दृग्गणितैक्यम्।
दृश्यते तेन पक्षेण कुर्यात्तिथ्यादिनिर्णयम्॥

यात्राविवाहोत्सवजातकादौ खेटैः स्फुटैरेवफलस्फुटत्वम्।
स्यात्प्रोच्यते तेन नभश्चराणां स्फुटक्रिया दृग्गणितैक्यकृद्या॥

तिथिर्विष्णुस्तथा वारो नक्षत्रं विष्णुरेव च।
योगश्च करणं चैव सर्वं विष्णु मयं जगत्॥


Monday, January 10, 2011

Makarsamkranti, Bhogi, Lohri, Pongal

Reference:  http://www.mypanchang.com/makarsamkrantipongal.php
(contributed  by Pundit Srinivas Khedam ji -- advisor mypanchang.com)

Makara Sankranti, Pongal, Lohri, Magha Bisu – A Moment of Thanksgiving to Specific gods, Nature and Farm Animals 

Makara Sankranthi is one of the important festivals celebrated all over India in different ways. While it is called Sankranthi or Pongal in South India it is called as Lohri in North India, Magha Bisu in Assam. Though there are a few difference in the way people celebrate in each area, the most common theme of the festival is Thanksgiving to nature and gods who blessed people with a good harvest, mainly Surya(Sun god), Agni(Fire god).

Pongal in South India

This is one of the many festivals associated with seasons, and is associated with winter harvest. It is celebrated for three days. The first day is called Bhogi which is the day for the family. The second day is Sannkrathi which is dedicated to worshipping Surya, the Sun god. The third day is Kanuma which is dedicated to cleaning cows, farm animals and farm equipment and also offering prayers to them for helping with a successful harvest season.

This festival is widely called as Pongal because it is at this time that a special rice pudding (sweet and spicy) is made with new rice from the fresh harvest. The advent of Pongal is associated with spring-cleaning and burning of rubbish, symbolizing the destruction of evil. Decorative designs or rangolis are traced on floors and on the day of the Pongal. These three days the streets in South India look amazingly colorful with different designs of rangolis. Often contest is held for the best rangoli in local communities.

In Andhra Pradesh people eat curry mixed with many vegetables and Jawar roti with sesame seed mix. Also, people take bath with water sesame seeds. In the evenings little children under five are blessed by pouring a bowl of mixture with fruits, nuts and sesame seeds. One belief is that this ritual will take away the crankiness of children. This is called Bhogi Pallu.

Spiritual Importance of Pongal

On the spiritual side, it is at the time of Pongal that Andal, who is also called Goda( the incarnation of Bhoodevi) marries Lord Ranganatha after 30 days of Thiruppavai Vratham. Sri Vaishnavas celebrate the month of Marghazhi reciting Thiruppavai, an amazing poem of thirty verses in praise of Lord Ranganatha, composed by Andal, one of the 12 Alwars(saints immersed in God). Goda Kalyanam is performed in all Sri Vaishanav temples all over South India during the Pongal time.

North India Lohri

In North India this is the festival of rabi crops(Wheat, Barley, Mustard, Peas, Oats, etc.). On this day people light a bonfire, offer prayers to fire god, dance around fire singing traditional Punjabi songs and songs related to the season with all the joy, and then have a feast with fresh harvest. People dress up in colorful clothes, invite family and friends over and spend the day in sharing food and gifts with each other. This is the time people give charity to those who are less fortunate to demonstrate how sharing and caring is most important quality of human beings. Eating sesame and jaggery is believed to take away the bad elements from the minds and hearts of people.

Many stories are associated with the festival of Lori, like the name originates from the name of Sant Kabir’s wife, Loi. According to another legend Holika and Lohir were sisters. Another legend says that the festival came into practice after a highway robber Dulla Bhatti carried a good deed by stopping a girl being taken into prostitution and marrying her with a Hindu bod.

Irrespective of different traditions this is a Pongal/Lohri is a great occasion to be thankful to gods, friends, families, nature, farm animals and all those who help to make life happy in many ways. And it is these age old traditions and practices that make India a land of mysteries and wonders.  Hence maintaining these traditions and passing them onto our next generations is highly important and perhaps the duty of every Hindu, so that the richness of our culture continue to live for many generations to come. 

Uttarayana / Dakshinayana

Contributed by Pundit Mahesh Shastriji

There is a common misconception that Makar Samkranti is the Uttarayana. This is because at one point in time Sayana and Nirayana Zodiac were same. Every year equinoxes slides by 50 seconds due to precision of equinoxes, giving birth to Ayanamsha and causing Makar Samkranti to slide further. As a result if you think Makar Samkranti is uttarayana then as it’s sliding it will come in June after 9000 years.  However Makar Samkranti still holds importance in our rituals as a Samkranti. All Drika Panchanga makers will use the position of the tropical Sun to determine Uttarayana and Dakshinayana. Hence January 14th isn’t Uttarayana.  

The season occurs based on tropical sun (without ayanamsha).  This is due to earth’s tilt of 23.45 degrees. The earth circles around sun with this tilt. When the tilt is facing the Sun we get summer and when the tilt is away from the Sun we get winter. Because of this tilt it seems like the Sun travels north and south of the equator. This motion of the sun is called Uttarayana – The sun is moving towards North and Dakshinayana the sun is moving towards South.  This motion of the sun moving towards the north is called Uttarayana. When it is moving towards the south it is called Dakshinayana. This causes rise to seaons. They are dependent on equinoxes and solstices. Actual Uttarayana occurs on December 21st/22nd of every year. All drika panchangam like Janmabhoomi/Daate panchang/Govt. of India's Rastriya panchanga will mention December 21st/22nd as Uttarayana.

Dates of Lohri in 2012

  • USA, Canada, UK, Arabian Gulf Countries: January 13th 2012
  • India, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Newzeland: January 14th 2012

Bhogi dates in 2012

  • USA, Canada: January 13th 2012
  • UK, Arabian Gulf, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Newzeland: January 14th 2012

Dates of Makarsamkranti in 2012

  • USA, Canada, UK, Arabian Gulf Countries: January 14th 2012
  • India, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Newzeland, Fiji: Jan 15 2012

Pongal dates in 2012

  • USA, Canada: January 14th 2012
  • UK, Arabian Gulf, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Newzeland: January 15th 2012
Note: To find Rahukalam, Yamagandam, Durmuhurtham, and Gulikai Please click on the panchangam link, and then scroll down to your city and click on your city. If you are from South India, Gujarat or Maharastra please click on Amavayant panchangam, and if your are from North India please click on poornimant panchangam. You will find Rahukalam, Yamagandam, Durmuhurtham, and Gulikai, Varjyam timings along with Abhijit Muhurtha and Amrit kala timings. We also provide information like local sunrise, sunset, Tithi, nakshatra, yoga, karana, sun's rasi, moon's rashi, moodyami of guru and shukra. We also have everyday chogadia and lagna table. To learn how to read panchanga please visit this link.

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