Dhanu Sankranti

Dhanu Sankranti is a Hindu holiday also known as Dhanu Sankraman, and it is celebrated when the sun moves into 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 Sankrantis on the Hindu Calendar. This means that Dhanu Sankranti signifies the beginning of the ninth month of the Hindu year, and it is a holiday mainly observed in Odisha, India.

It is a holiday that celebrates Lord Surya and Lord Jagannath. Because the date is considered to be the beginning of the month of plenty, devotees celebrate this holiday with much enthusiasm. A duration of one month is known as a Kharmas.

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 is 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 holy rivers of India. Over time, the two observances have conflated to become one holiday.

The Meaning of the Kharmas

In Sanskrit, “Khar” is a word that means donkey. The reason “Khar” is used in the word “Kharmas” 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 is said that if he stops, then all day-to-day activities are halted.

Unfortunately, the chariot’s horses become sick and tired due to a lack of rest and hunger. As Surya Dev notices 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 leaves his horses and allows them to drink the water they need. He then attaches the two donkeys to his chariot. The donkeys slow 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 Sun God. The Sun God is greeted with flowers and water in the early morning, right after it rises, to secure its special blessings. It is also a day when devotees fast and pray for fortune and happiness in their lives.

The Dhanu Yatra Festival begins on the sixth day of Pausha in Shukla Paksha on the Hindu Lunar Calendar. On this day, a special Prasad is also prepared, which includes sweet rice flakes formed in a conical shape and offered to Lord Jagannath during the puja ceremony. There is also a Bow Ceremony that takes the form of a street play as mentioned in the Bhagavad Purana.

Another thing that devotees do is visit the temple of Lord Jagannath and the Temple of the Sun to pay their respects to these gods. It is considered auspicious to offer up a donation and to perform pujas for one’s ancestors. It is also customary to perform acts of charity for those who are less fortunate. Finally, the ritual of Pitru Tarpan is held to offer water to the souls of deceased ancestors.

When is it?
This year (2024)
December 15 Sunday
Next year (2025)
December 15 Monday
Last year (2023)
December 16 Saturday