Friday, March 26, 2021

Makar Sakranti

 Happy Makar Sakranti

India is celebrating Winter Solstice (Uttarayan) on 14 January and Punjab has celebrated it yesterday (13 January) as Lohri. The West celebrates it as Christmas, on 25 December. However over the years the winter solstice day (Uttarayan) is changed, and this year, it was on 22nd December 2019, the shortest day and longest night of the year. 14 January in fact is a Makar Sakranti (Sun transits to Capricorn) day. This year the Sun transits to Capricorn at 2.23 AM on 15 January. 

At the December solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is leaning most away from the Sun for the year. Earth is positioned in its orbit so that the Sun stays below the north pole horizon. As seen from 23.5 degrees south of the equator, at the imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Capricorn, the Sun shines directly overhead at noon. This is as far south as the Sun ever gets. All locations south of the equator have day lengths greater than 12 hours at the December solstice. Meanwhile, all locations north of the equator have day lengths less than 12 hours.

Winter Solstice is celebrated as the Victory of Sun over darkness. On Uttarayan day, Hindus perform Surya Namaskar and offer water to Sun chanting: 

“ॐ ऐही सूर्यदेव सहस्त्रांशो तेजो राशि जगत्पते।अनुकम्पय मां भक्त्या गृहणार्ध्य दिवाकर:।।ॐ सूर्याय नम:, ॐ आदित्याय नम:, ॐ नमो भास्कराय नम:।अर्घ्य समर्पयामि।।”

Seasons greetings and Happy Makar Sakranti.


14 January 2020


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