All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Sri Chaitanya Sridhar Govinda Seva Ashram, Sitiawan, Malaysia

Makara Sankranti (Ponggal)

14 January 2005
Web-page by Rama Ratan Prabhu, Malaysia

A new clay pot is used to boil milk.

Devotees taking turns to put rice in the boiling milk.

Makara Sankranti (Ponggal)
Commentary by Rama Ratan Prabhu, Malaysia,
about this traditional festival

This holy festival is celebrated for three consecutive days. Interestingly, this is the only festival in the Hindu calendar that follows a solar calendar and is celebrated on the fourteenth of January every year (all other Hindu festivals are computed using the lunar calendar).

This holy day marks the commencement of the Sun's northern course in the Heavens, known as the uttaraayana patha. This turn in the Sun's course takes place at the point of time when it enters the sign of Makara or Capricorn. Sankranti is termed as 'Ponggal' in Tamilnadu, and is celebrated with a popular dish with the same name. Kolams (rangoli), sugar cane, mango leaves and turmeric leaves are used as decorations to celebrate the festival.

The first day it is celebrated for the harvested crops and share with friends and relatives. A new pot, bricks, firewood, milk and rice are required for this festival. The second day cows are worshipped and given the offerings. The cows are given a bath, their horns painted and they are decorated with new cloths. And on the third day the young unmarried ladies wearing new clothes and gold and silver ornaments will have special prayers for their future marriage.

In different parts of India, the Sankranti is celebrated very differently. In the Western parts, the emphasis is on exchanging 'til-gul' which is a specialty of Konkani/Marathi women. It is a preparation of sugar coated seeds and nuts of different colors prepared by the housewives. In some other parts, exchange a mixture of teel, jaggery, fried gram, groundnuts (peanuts) which is called 'ellu bella.' Along with sweets, flowers, bangles, dry fruits, sugarcane and sugar candies are also exchanged. In the old Mysore region, people decorate their houses and cattle. They also worship their crop and cattle. As part of the celebration they sing and dance, and look forward for flowering of the trees and singing of birds.

In Hindu belief, a person dying on this auspicious day directly goes to the heaven. Bhishma, an elder in the Mahabharata, is said to have waited for this day to breathe his last. It is also on this day every twelve years the Great Kumbha-Mela is held at Prayag.

The milk and rice started to boil and overflow.

Prabhu Chaitanya Vigraha Das leading the kirttana with his son Bhakta Tara Deva playing the mrdanga.

Prabhu Tribhuvanath Das leading the Tulasi parikrama.

Bhakta Tara Deva singing kirttana while playing the mrdanga.

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj on his altar especially made for his Sri Vyasa Puja.

Main altar of our Seva Ashram.

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
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