Makara Sankaranthi Festival
Religiously the Sankaranthi stands for the beginning of Uttarayana Punyakalam. It is also observed as Harvest Festival and is festival of joy for agriculturists in Tamil Nadu. The word Makara indicates the sun entering the Makara (Capricorn) raasi. This year, Makara Sankaranthi is observed on 14th January 2006.
We observe Pongal in three parts in Tamil Nadu.
- Bhogi day (Garbage Collection where old things in the home are destroyed and house is rejuvenated and repainted). It is observed on 13th January 2006. Pollution control board has advised not to burn lot of garbage since atmosphere is heavily polluted and takeoffs and landing of flights are affected heavily, which has become annual feature in Tamil Nadu during the Bhogi time.
- Pongal day (The actual start of Makara Sankranthi) observed on 14th January 2006. Fresh pot with freshly boiled rice is cooked and with the chanting of Pongalo Pongal the food is dedicated to the the Sun God.
- Mattup Pongal Day which is observed on 15th January, 2006 means respecting the dumb animals which have been helping the farmers in thier harvests. These animals include:
- Cows and Bullock Carts
- The next day is also observed as Thiruvalluvar Day which means the birth day of Thiruvalluvar, who authored the famous Thirukkural, which is being regarded as the holy book for life throughout the world with translations in almost all languages.
Makara Sankaranthi is also observed with much devotion in Sabarimala. Exactly in the Pongal day evening, the Thiruvabaranam from the Pattanamthitta Palace, where Lord Ayyappa is supposed to have born, is brought in and the idol is decorated. Special Poojas and Deepararadhana is done to the Lord. Exactly at this time, a divine light appears in the neighboring hillock (Ponnambala Medu). It is said the Devas do pooja for the Lord and it is that light which appears as the Makara Star in the sky.
Two year, Jaya TV has been doing a divine service by live telecasting this throughout the world and we hope they are doing this year too.