Happy Makara Sankranti
Makara Sankranti or Maghi, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, dedicated to the deity Surya (sun). It is observed each year in January. It marks the first day of the sun’s transit into Makara (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.
Makara Sankranti is one of the few ancient Indian festivals that has been observed according to solar cycles, while most festivals are set by the lunar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar. Being a festival that celebrates the solar cycle, it almost always falls on the same Gregorian date every year (January 14), except in some years when the date shifts by a day for that year. The festivities associated with Makar Sankranti are known by various names, such as Maghi (preceded by Lohri) by north Indian Hindus and Sikhs, Makara Sankranti (Pedda Pandaga) in Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal (also called Poush sôngkrānti), Karnataka and Telangana, Sukarat in central India, Magh Bihu by Assamese, and Thai Pongal by Tamils.
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Happy Pongal 🙏🙏🙏 Pongal (பொங்கல், /ˈθaɪˈpoʊŋʌl/, also spelled Poṅkal), is also referred to as Thai Pongal (தைப்பொங்கல், also spelled Tai Pongal), is a multi-day Hindu harvest festival of South India, particularly in the Tamil community. It is observed at the start of the month Tai according to Tamil solar calendar, and this is typically about January 14. It is dedicated to the Hindu sun god, the Surya, and corresponds to Makar Sankranti, the harvest festival under many regional names celebrated throughout India. The three days of the Pongal festival are called Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal and Maattu Pongal.
According to tradition, the festival marks the end of winter solstice, and the start of the sun’s six-month-long journey northwards (the Uttaraayanam) when the sun enters the zodiac Makara (Capricorn). The festival is named after the ceremonial “Pongal”, which means “to boil, overflow” and refers to the traditional dish prepared from the new harvest of rice boiled in milk with jaggery (raw sugar). To mark the festival, the pongal sweet dish is prepared, first offered to the gods and goddesses (goddess Pongal), followed sometimes with an offering to cows, and then shared by the family. Festive celebrations include decorating cows and their horns, ritual bathing and processions. It is traditionally an occasion for decorating rice-powder based kolam artworks, offering prayers in the home, temples, getting together with family and friends, and exchanging gifts to renew social bonds of solidarity.
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Happy Dussehra 2019
Vijayadashami also known as Dasahara, Dusshera, Dasara, Dussehra or Dashain is a major Hindu festival celebrated at the end of Navaratri every year. It is observed on the tenth day in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin or Kartik, the sixth and seventh month of the Hindu Luni-Solar Calendar respectively, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.
Vijayadashami is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of South Asia. In the southern, eastern and northeastern states of India, Vijayadashami marks the end of Durga Puja, remembering goddess Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura to restore and protect dharma. In the northern and western states, the festival is synonymously called Dussehra (also spelled Dasara, Dashahara). In these regions, it marks the end of “Ramlila” and remembers God Rama’s victory over the Ravan. On the very same occasion; Arjuna alone decimated 1 lakh+ soldiers & defeated all Kuru warriors including Bhishma, Drona, Ashwatthama, Karna, Kripa etc.- there by significantly quoting the natural example of victory of good (Dharma) over evil (Adharma). Alternatively it marks a reverence for one of the aspects of goddess Devi such as Durga or Saraswati.
Vijayadashami celebrations include processions to a river or ocean front that carry clay statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya, accompanied by music and chants, after which the images are immersed into the water for dissolution and a goodbye. Elsewhere, on Dasara, the towering effigies of Ravan symbolizing the evil are burnt with fireworks marking evil’s destruction. The festival also starts the preparation for one of the most important and widely celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after the Vijayadashami.
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