Sankranthi, or Makar Sankranti, is an important harvest festival and it also marks the transition of the sun from Sagittarius to Capricon (Makara Rasi). Sankranti also marks the beginning of Uttarayan – the daytime of Devas as per Hinduism and the next six months are considered highly auspicious. Six human months is considered the daytime of Devas. The main pujas and rituals on Sankranti are dedicated to Lord Surya. Here is a brief look at on how to do Sankranti Pooja in the South Indian way.
- Cleaning of house.
- Early morning oil bath.
- Decoration of house with mango leaves, flowers and rangoli (kolams).
- Arrange the Puja Room - if possible get an image or picture of God Surya.
There is no elaborate Sankranthi Puja. You can offer flowers and akshata to your favorite deity and prayer as you do normally. If you opt for a traditional puja -
Things needed for Makar Sankranthi Pooja
- Betel leaves
- Betel nuts
- Rice mixed with turmeric powder (akshata)
- Ellu bella, sugarcane as neivedya (sesame seeds with jaggery)
How to do the Sankranti Puja?
- The puja is performed when the Sun enters Makara Rasi. Usually it is performed after sunrise. To get the exact time you can look into the Panchanga.
- For Puja you can break a coconut and place it on a tray along with betel leaves and betel nuts.
- Sprinkle some water on the tray.
- Light the lamp. Usually a lamp with two wicks is lit on Makar Sankranti or two lamps.
- Start you prayers by remembering Ganesha.
- Next pray to your favorite deity or to Lord Surya.
- If the prayer is to Surya, chant Gayatri Mantra or read Aditya Hridayam.
- Place some flowers and rice mixed with turmeric powder before the idol of the deity in your puja room.
- Place ellu bella before the deity.
- Do meditation or chant some simple prayers.
- Distribute the neivedya.
Various types of Sankranti Dhanam are practiced by different communities. Newly married women give Dhanam to married women, married women give Dhanam to other married women, in some regions pumpkin or sugarcane is given as Dhanam.
There is a traditional lunch in the afternoon and in the evening families visit neighbors and relatives and exchange gifts and ellu bella.