Sakranti means when the sun from one Zodiac in Indian astrology moves to another. As per Hindu beliefs there are 12 such Sakrantis but the main festival is celebrated on Makar Sakranti.
The transition of Sun from Dhanu Rashi i.e Sagittarius to Makar Rashi i.e Capricorn. The festival happens approximately 21 days after the winter solstice.Which incidentally is between December 20th and 22nd. Here the sun starts moving towards north that is starting a Uttarayan.
One very special significance of Makar Sankranti is that day and night are of equal durations on this day. From this day people in Northern India start getting relief from the biting cold. The ancient race of Aryan celebrated this day with festivities. Maybe because agriculture has always been the source of sustenance for the human race and farmer’s toil is visible because this is the harvest time for the seasonal crop.
Tips to celebrate Makar Sankranti with kids:
• It is a good opportunity to involve children in the festivities. Begins by involving them in a story session and tells them about the rituals and traditions of Makar Sankranti.
• Usually the kites are flown on this day. Get them involved in the kite purchasing or kite making. And inform them safety rules of flying the kite and use right Manjha as when colorful kites dot the skies it excites them.
• Let children makes arrangements for bonfire and have neighbors, friends and relatives pool in to have pot luck meal. Arrange the logs and get their act together by setting sesame candies (Gajak), Til laddoos, popcorns and peanut together.
• Explain to them that this festival gives us a reason to come out of our quilts and get together after long, cold winters and revive hope and happiness with the prospects of prosperity.
Also Read: 20 Fun Diwali Activities For Kids
How to celebrate the festival of kites?
When people and children come out after long winters to fly kites they get exposed to healthy rays of the sun and are cleared of all sorts of bacteria, infections. Also they soak in vitamin D from the sun.
The sky is dotted with multivities of kites. Especially popular in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Generally rhombus
in shape, people decorate and make colorful kites.
Teaching kids Makar Sankranti connection with the mythology.
As we know that Bhishma Pitamah the patron father of Kaurvas and Pandavas was badly injured
in the war. He kept on lying on the bed of nails as a penance as he could not prevent war between families. He kept on suffering and struggled to keep life as he had taken a vow. But during this auspicious phase, he willingly gave up his life and achieved salvation.
The importance of date to the kids
It is one of the rare Indian festivals that is celebrated on a fixed date that is January the 14th. Although most of our festivals are celebrated according to the lunar calendar. This follows the solar calendar. This is an opportunity for the teachers and parents to explain the solar and lunar calendar.
Interesting fun activities
On the festival people exchange sweets like Rewari, Gajak that is peanut and sesame candy. They also exchange Halwa made of carrots and laddoo made with til.
Many interesting sayings are uttered in the local language there, by meaning. Let’s forget the unpleasant incident and grudges. Let’s make up, share bread and good will for each other.
Jaggery sweet dishes
Sugarcanes are harvested as the first crop in the Makar Sakarnti and Sugarcane juice is extracted and converted into jaggery commonly good. This is offered to the god as Prasad. This is the way of thanking God and god is for the beautiful crop.
Sesame seed (Til Utility)
This comes with fair amount of beliefs and convictions and appears to have spiritual reasons if we refer to our puranas. As it is believed that if you massage your body with the sesame oil and add sesame seeds to water with which you take a bath will nullify all your previous sins.
Also offering sweet meals made of till (sesame) and mixing the seeds in water will make us more balanced. It is not Mere superstition because even as per the ayurvedic science negative energies are soaked by til and refresh us further with the positive energy to generate spirit of well being and togetherness. Makar Sakranti is one such festival that celebrates unity in diversity as it is celebrated all over India although forms and names may differ, this unites us.