The festival of Makar Sankranti is dedicated to the sun god. It is observed by Hindus on 14th January each year. The auspicious day marks the transit of the sun into the Capricorn, also known as Makra. The day also marks the beginning of Uttarayana, a six-month auspicious period.
One of the most special aspects of this festival is to do charity and help the needy and poor. People donate various items to the underprivileged. Some of the main items which are donated on this day include warm clothes, blankets, food, metal utensils and so on. For Hindus donation is an important part of one’s religious duty (dharma) and each person has dharma towards the society, the whole world and all the living beings besides his own family. Although we can do charity on any day of the year, the value of doing charity on this day is considered to be much more fruitful.
Through a simple act of donation (dana) you can spread joy among the deprived people and enrich your own self. So, donate on Makar Sankranti selflessly and increase the effectiveness of the dana.
A few of the commonest forms of donations (dana) on Makara Sankranti include:
Annadana (food donation): According to Hinduism, sharing food with others is considered to be a part of one’s religious duty. On this religious occasion, annadana is undertaken on a large scale. Hindus organise bhandaras (community meal) for the needy to spread health and wellbeing. Having warming properties, donating sesame seeds and jaggery food preparations are considered to be very propitious on this day. Feeding cows with jaggery, grass or grains are also considered to be favourable.
Woollen clothes: Donating woollen clothes is considered very propitious on Makar Sankranti day. Because the festival falls during winters which are a desperate struggle period for survival for the poor people, providing them with warm winter wear on this day is the best way to make them feel relaxed and warm.
Blanket: Donate blankets to the homeless and needy people and save a life in the harsh winter, the season in which this festival falls. These people live a very hard and miserable life in this season. You can ease their sufferings by donating blankets on this sacred day.
Metal Utensils: An offering of the new metal utensil should be made depending on the capability of the donor. Vermilion and turmeric are applied on the utensils and a sacred thread called as moli is tied around them. The utensils are filled with sesame seeds and jaggery. Some money can also be placed inside the utensils. Then, distribute them among poor people. Steel metal utensils are considered to be very auspicious items to be donated on Makar Sankranti according to Vastu Shastra.
Colourful kites: Kites are one of the best gifts to be distributed among kids on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Donate kites to underprivileged children and spread happiness.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with full fervour across India and it is referred to by different names among different regions. The integral parts of the festival are organising fairs or melas, flying kites, taking bath in sacred rivers and feasting on homemade delicacies which are usually made of jaggery and sesame seeds.
The festival brings in a feeling of universal brotherhood and harmony. It spreads the message of forgetting bitterness and making the new beginnings to live a happy and healthy life. These donations can bring happiness and prosperity to you all through the year.
Happy Makar Sankranti!