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Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan.
Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan.
Makar Sankranti means Good Bye Winter and Welcome Spring – A welcome to the sun after the cold winter months The festival traditionally coincides with the beginning of the Sun's northward journey (the UTTARAYAN) when it enters the sign of Makar (the CAPRICORN). This day has a very special significance because the day and night on Makar Sankrant are of exactly of equal hours. This day is celebrated as a festival right from the times of the Aryans and is looked upon as the most auspicious day by the Hindus. The evidence of this festival being lucky is found in our great epic Mahabharat wherein it is told that the great warrior-hero, Bhishma Pitamaha even after being wounded and lying on the bed of arrows, lingered on till Uttarayan set in, to breathe his last. It is believed that the person who dies on this auspicious day of Sankrant escapes the cycle of birth and re-birth and that his soul mingles with the Almighty.
This festival is celebrated differently in different parts of the country yet the use of ‘tal' sesame is found everywhere.
Tal na Ladoo
Tal or sesame seed contain lot of oil and they therefore have a quality of softness in them. Therefore, firstly the use of tal in sweets is good for health and secondly being soft their exchange means exchange of love and tender feelings.
People exchange multi-coloured tal, made from tal and sugar and give presents of ‘tal na laddus’ made from til and ‘gor’ - jaggery. While exchanging tal laddus as tokens of goodwill people greet each other. Typical food like sugar cane juice and Indian sweets are also served to celebrate the day.
The under-lying thought in the exchange of tal laddus is to forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends. This festival thus helps the maintenance of social relationships within the family, caste and community.
The festival however sees a lot of participants sustaining injuries in cities due to the rush to catch a fallen kite. Often deaths have resulted when children display reckless behaviour on rooftops trying to catch kites. Always fly with the safety of yourself and others in mind. Flying kites is a fun and rewarding activity for the entire family and if some common sense rules about how and when you fly are observed.
As 'Diwali' – the festival of light – is to Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, and 'Navaratri' is to Durga, goddess of strength, might and power, Vasant Panchami is to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and learning.
Saraswati represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. She is the mother of the Vedas – knowledge.
It is believed that goddess Saraswati endows human beings with the powers of speech, wisdom and learning. She has four hands representing four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She has sacred scriptures in one hand and a lotus - the symbol of true knowledge - in the second. With her other two hands she plays the music of love and life on a string instrument called the veena. She is dressed in white - the symbol of purity - and rides on a white swan that symbolises Sattwa Guna or purity and discrimination.
Vasant Panchami is a festival full of religious, seasonal and social significance and is celebrated by Hindus all over the world with verve and new sense of optimism.
Ten things God won't ask:
1 ...God won't ask what kind of car you drove;
He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.
2...God won't ask the square footage of your house,
He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
3...God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet,
He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.
4...God won't ask what your highest salary was,
He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.
5...God won't ask what your job title was,
He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
6...God won't ask how many friends you had,
He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
7... God won't ask in what neighbourhood you lived,
He'll ask how you treated your neighbours.
8...God won't ask about the color of your skin,
He'll ask about the content of your character.
9... God won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation,
He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.
Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.