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Sun Festivals in India | Festivals of The Sun in India

India is a spiritual and religious country where the majority of the population follows Hinduism. Indian celebrate a large no of Indian festivals. Some festivals are religious festivals, cultural festivals, the harvest festival and some are Sun Festival. Here we are going to talk about the Sun Festival in India. 


sun festival in india
Sun festival in India

Since in Hindu religion or Sanatan Dharma, it is believed that God is everywhere and in everything, people worship them and offer prayers.


In India, we also worship the Sun, the greatest source of light and energy, on which depends the very existence of all the life on Earth. To offer prayers there are various Sun festivals in India.

 

SUN FESTIVALS IN INDIA

 

S.N.

NAME

STATE

MONTH

1

Makar Sankranti

Bihar, Uttar Pradesh

January

2

Lohri

Punjab

January

3

Pongal

Tamil Nadu

January

4

Ratha Saptami

Andhra Pradesh

February

5

Chhath Puja

North India, Maharashtra

November

 

Makar Sankranti- Sun Festival in India

Makar Sankranti also known as Makara Sankranti is celebrated in various parts of the Indian subcontinent to observe the day which marks the shift of the sun into ever-lengthening days. The festival is a seasonal observance as well as a religious celebration.

makar sankranti sun festival in india
Makar Sankranti | Sun Festival in India
The festival Makar Sankranti is a solar event making it one of the few Hindu festivals which fall on the same date in local calendars every year: 14 January, with some exceptions when the festival is celebrated on 15 January.


Though extremely popular as Makar Sankranti, the festival is predominantly as Harvest Festival and is celebrated throughout India. While Makar Sankranti is most popular in West India, in South India, the festival is known as Pongal and in North India, it is celebrated as Lohri. Uttarayan, Maghi, Khichdi are some other names of the same festival.


Makar Sankranti is the festival of til-gud where sesame and jaggery laddoos or chikkis are distributed among all.


Makar Sankranti generally marks the beginning of the Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh while in South India, in Kerala, one of the most austere and difficult pilgrimages of Sabarimala ends on this auspicious day. Other parts of the country too, celebrate by taking a dip in the holy rivers flowing through states to cleanse themselves of sins. It is also believed that if you die during Makar Sankranti, you are not reborn but go directly to heaven.

 

Pongal- Sun Festival in India

Pongal is also one of the Sun Festivals of India celebrated by the Hindu community in Tamil Nadu. Pongal is also, one of the South Indian Famous Festival since this festival is widely celebrated in Tamil Nadu.

pongal sun festival in india
Pongal | Sun Festival in India
The name of the festival comes from the Tamil word meaning “to boil”; rice is boiled in milk and offered first to the gods, then to the cows, and then to family members.


A senior member of the family conducts the cooking and the rest of the family assists him or her or watches the event. When the water has boiled the rice is put into the pot - after a member, the family ceremoniously puts three handfuls of rice in first. The other ingredients of this special dish are chakkarai (brown cane sugar) or katkandu (sugar candy), milk (cow's milk or coconut milk), roasted green gram (payaru), raisins, cashew nuts, and few pods of cardamom. When the meal is ready it is first put on a banana leaf and the family prays for a few minutes to thank the nature spirit, the sun, and farmers.


The four-day Pongal celebration thanking the Sun God for an abundant harvest is called as Pongal festival. Its other names are Makar Sankranti, Utharayana and Maghi.


The day before the Pongal festival is called Bhogi. People discard older belongings and go for new things.


The second day of Pongal is an important celebration called the Pongal festival. In Tamil, Pongal means “Overflowing” or “Abundant”. As the Tamil families are mostly Farming dependent, this festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving to the Sun God for a good harvest and also as a prayer for the next season.


The third day of Pongal is for the buffaloes without which people cannot do farming. They decorate the horns of the buffaloes and games like taming the bull are played in almost all the villages. It is popularly known as “Jallikattu”.


The fourth day of Pongal is called “Kaanum Pongal” which means the reunion of friends and families. Delicacies will be shared and people will spend time together with their kith and kin.

 

Lohri- Sun Festival in India

Lohri marks the beginning of the end of winter, the coming of spring, and the New Year. The festival is traditionally associated with the harvest of the rabi crops.

lohri sun festival of india
Lohri -The Sun Festival of India
Lohri is essentially a festival dedicated to fire and the sun god. It means Lohri is also a Sun festival in India. It is the time when the sun transits the zodiac sign Makar (Capricorn), and moves towards the north. Gur Rewadi, Peanuts, and Popcorns are the three munchies associated with this festival.


Besides these, in Punjab villages, it is a tradition to eat Gajak, Sarson Da Saag, and Makki Di Roti on the day of Lohri. It is also traditional to eat 'Til rice'-sweet rice made with Jaggery (Gur) and sesame seeds.

 

Ratha Saptami- Sun Festival in India

Ratha Saptami is also one on the Sun Festivals in India celebrated by the Hindu community. This festival is a Hindu festival that falls on the Seventh-day (Saptami) of the bright half of the Hindu month Maagha.

 

This day is also known as Surya Jayanthi because it celebrates the power of the Sun God who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu in his form as Surya is usually worshipped on this day.

 

Usually, Rathasapthami begins in households with a purification bath by holding a few calotropis leaves on one’s head and shoulders while bathing and chanting a verse that is supposed to invoke the benevolence of the Lord in that entire one takes up the rest of the year. It also involves doing a puja with the ritual ‘Naivedyam’, flowers and fruits.

 

On this day at Tirumala (Andhra Pradesh), Lord Venkateswara (Balaji) is mounted on Seven Vahanas (Celestial Vehicles) one after the other starting from Suryaprabha Vahanam and ending with Chandraprabha Vahana.

 

Other Vahanas are Hanumad vahana, Garuda Vahana, Pedda Sesha Vahana, Kalpavruksha vahana and Sarva Bhoopala vahana. Also chakrasnanam is performed on the same day.

 

A devotee enjoys watching the Lord mounted on different vahanas in one day which is popularly known as Oka roju Brahmotsavam (Single day celebrations).


Chhath Puja- Sun Festival in India

Chhath Puja is an ancient Hindu festival. It is dedicated to God Sun thus this festival is a Sun festival in India. The celebrations lasting four days take place throughout the country. During which people bring prayers and offerings to Surya and his wife Usha, the Goddess of the Daybreak.


The North Indian state of Bihar is the center and birthplace of the festival. The festival is also The Main Festival of Bihar. The festival enjoys the greatest popularity in the eastern states of India but now celebrated throughout India such as in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and other parts of India. Chhath is unique to Bihar, Jharkhand Uttar Pradesh, Nepal & Mauritius.


The Chhath Puja is held according to the Lunar calendar and comes in autumn, on the sixth day of the Kartik month, shortly after the celebration of the Festival of Lights - Diwali, which marks the end of agricultural work.


In accordance with a strict tradition, this is a period for the devotees to be fasting and abstaining from drinking water, as well as to be performing ablutions and standing in water for a long period of time and performing the ceremonies of worshipping the Sun rising or setting. The contact with water and prolonged meditative staying in it is an essential part of the ceremonies. It is noteworthy that this is one of the rare Hindu holidays in which priests are not involved at all: prayer communication with the Sun implies detachment from the vanities of the world, although it takes place together with the relatives around and with a huge number of other participants in the ritual.

 

 

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