Makar Sakranti - Health perspective
Meaning of Sakranti - Sakranti term is used for movement of Sun in between twelve Zodiac signs. This time around 14/15 january movement of Sun is towards Makar Rashi which is Capricorn. This Makar shifting is special as Sun moves in northern solstice or Utrayan. So Utrayan or Adan Kaal starts from this day.
Means rays from sun start increasing in intensity day by day till Longest day or 21st June.
Importance of Makar Sakranti - This day is celebrated in India for its religious, spiritual, agricultural and astrological reasons. This day has lots of significance for solar movement which is considered the sole reason for life that's Pratyaksh Brahm ( visible source of life ). Many crops start getting seed grains in them so its time for gratitude, donate and cleanse. Crops along with domestic animals are worshiped all over India on this day.
There are many stories in hindu religious literature authenticating special prayers for this day. Spiritually in Yogic practice this day is celebrated for very strong conducive energies of Agni mahabhuta, Which is a source of intelligence and power. All Tejas ( fire element related ), chetna ( exuberance of life ) and good digestion is invoked during this time through Yogic practices.
Celebrations of Makar sakranti/ Lohdi/ Pongal / Bihu - In India it is celebrated with names like Lohdi/Pongal/Bihu/uttarayan etc. Khichadi, Sesame seeds, groundnuts along with jaggery ( unrefined sugar cane product ) or dates are consumed. Khichadi is prepared with rice and a variety of split Daal beans like mung, urad, chana, masor etc along with seasonal vegetables and spices like ginger, turmeric, blackpepper, cumin, bayleaf etc.
Khichadi is a pot dish depicting healthy wholesome nutrition resonating unity of all basic food elements in one dish which is easy to cook. This unity of food grains with vegetables also symbolises unity of mankind.
After offering new food grains for prayers, people dance and eat together around bonfire at night. Khicahdi, peanuts, popcorns and sesame sweets are exchanged with friends and relatives.
Its a harvest festival of India. This is the time for food donation and at many worship places food is offered to the needy.
Also its time for kite flying / Patangbaji / Kai po che. One can be in sun, out in open or rooftops. This playful and happy tradition gives a chance to absorb beautiful weather along with required vit D too from sun rays.
Significance of Makar Sakranti for HEALTH /WELLNESS according to AYURVEDA
During this time Sun is soothing and warm, its good season to take care of your health and replenish your Vit D. Because of Vata season some people may feel bloating and constipated. Seasonal fruits like Ber, Papaya act as mild laxatives. Baajra ( pearl millet ) is consumed during this season, which is warming but creates dryness so it should be eaten with ghee. Vata is imbalnced during this season that's why warming, moisturising and easy to digest diets are recommended.
After Shishir is Vasant Ritu and ritusandhi time ( shift from cold to warmer side ). Tridoshas ( vital support of life ) tend to be imbalanced because of huge changes in weather. So light, warming, moisturising and digestive foods will support doshas to bounce back in healthy balance. Khichadi is full of nutrition, easy to cook and digestive diet.
Gud and til ( sesame and jaggery ) are also consumed during this time which has great health significance to it. Til is considered auspicious in many ancient cultures. Its said sesame seeds have ability to absorb negativity and improve sattva thats why used in Yagaya, Havan and prayers etc for purity, positivity and harmony. Doing abhaynag or massage with sesame oil is also recommended in Ayurveda. Sesame seed are specially helpful for patients of arthritis, bone-loss and joint pains. Sesame seeds should be consumed carefully by gout patients and Persons allergic to nuts. One tablespoon that's approximate 9-10 gms in one day is enough. Til seeds are also good sourse of selenium, Manganese, calcium. Zinc, phosphorus and vit B1. One tbs of sesame seeds gives 120-130mg of calcium, Which is ten percent of daily recommended dose.
Happy Makar Sakranti to all readers.