Dhanu Sankranti is a Hindu holiday that’s also known as Dhanu Sankraman and it’s celebrated when the sun heads over to the House of Sagittarius. On the Hindu Calendar, the sun crosses into different zodiac signs a total of 12-times per year in what is known as Sankranti.
Each year, there are 12-Sankratis on the Hindu Calendar. This means that Dhanu Sankranti signifies the beginning of the 9th month of the Hindu year and it’s a holiday that’s mainly observed in Orissa, India. It’s a holiday that celebrates Lord Surya and Lord Jagannath. Because the date is considered to be the beginning of the month of plenty, devotees will celebrate this holiday with much enthusiasm. A duration of one month is known as a Kharma.
The History Of Dhanu Sankranti
This Hindu festival goes back thousands of years. Typically, in Odisha, India, this time of the year was when farmers collected their harvest. So, it’s very much a harvest festival like the many thousands of harvest festivals celebrated around the globe. It was also common for people to worship the Sun God, taking baths in the holiday rivers of India. Over time, the two observances have conflated to become one holiday.
The Meaning Of The Karmas
In Sanskrit, Khar is a word that means donkey. And the reason why Khar is used in the word Kharma can be attributed to a legend. According to this legend, Surya Dev revolves around the universe on a chariot pulled by seven horses. He is not allowed to stop, and it’s said that if he stops, then all day-to-day activities are halted.
Unfortunately, the chariot’s horses get sick and tired due to a lack of rest and hunger. As Surya Dev noticed their condition, he takes his chariot to the banks of a pond. He knows that if he stops, then all activities will stop and there will be a lot of problems. He then notices two donkeys at the river of the pond.
He then leaves his horses and allows them to drink the water they need. He then attaches two donkeys to his chariot. The horse slows down the chariot, while the horses usually run fast. As a result, the rotation of one month gets done, and the horses get the rest they need. This is what is meant by the monthly Kharmas.
Celebrations Of Dhanu Sankranti
This is a day when Lord Jagannath is worshipped, as is the Lord Sun. The Sun God is greeted with flowers and water in the early morning, right after it rises in order to secure its special blessings. It’s also a day when devotees fast and pray for fortune and happiness in their lives.
The Dhanu Yatra Festival begins on the 6th day of Pausha in Shukla Paksha on the Hindu Lunar Calendar. On this day, a special Prasad is also prepared, and this includes sweet rice flakes that are formed in a conical shape and offered to Lord Jagganath during the puja ceremony. There is also a Bow Ceremony that takes the form of a street play as it’s mentioned in the Bhagwad Purana.
Another thing that devotees do is to visit the temple of Lord Jagganath and the Temple of the Sun to pay their respect to these gods. It’s considered to be auspicious to offer up a donation and to perform pujas for one’s ancestors. It’s also customary to perform acts of charity for those who are less fortunate. And finally, the ritual of Pitru Tarpan is held to offer water to the souls of deceased ancestors.