Makar Sankrati is a Hindu holiday celebrating the sun god's ascendancy into the northern hemisphere. Unlike other holidays, Makar Sankrati is celebrated on the same day every year because it follows the solar calendar. Another name for the holiday is Uttarayan, which refers specifically to the day the sun begins its journey. Although it is celebrated throughout the country, specific traditions and rituals vary based on region.Continue Reading
The name "Makar Sankrati" refers to the sun's transition from Sagittarius to Capricorn. Uttarayan can also refer to the six-month journey of the sun's passage, which is a period that is also considered auspicious for anyone seeking to transcend the physical world. After Makar Sankrati, the days start becoming longer and warmer, marking the end of winter.
Makar Sankrati is also known as the festival of thanksgiving and is somewhat comparable to the western New Year's Day, when people resolve to start anew and move on from past failures. People appreciate each other and pay homage to the sun god, who generously gives life without accepting reward.
Makar Sankrati holds significant religious importance. In Indian mythology, the hero Maharaj Bhagirath managed to liberate and redeem the 60,000 sons of Maharaj Sagar on this day.Learn more about Hinduism
In Hindu religion, the three greatest gods are Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer. They are considered a trinity, each being an aspect of the greatest God. Rama and Krishna, the seventh and eighth avatars of Vishnu respectively, also draw many worshippers.Full Answer >
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as Mahatma Gandhi, practiced the Hindu religion. He was the pivotal figure in the independence movement in India in the early 20th century.Full Answer >
Some basic Hindu beliefs are that there is one all-pervasive deity, that the Vedas and Agamas are sacred texts, and that there are both three worlds of existence and three cycles of creation. Hindus also believe in the laws of karma and dharma.Full Answer >
Hindu religious teachers are called gurus, and their role is to act as the mediator between the soul and the Supreme, while also acting as an interpreter and teacher of the shastra, and as a voice of the divine. Gurus often take on disciples, known as diksha.Full Answer >