Mesha Sankranti Celebrations•
Posted on April 11 2022
Mesha Sankranti heralds the arrival of the Hindu solar new year and marks the beginning of the solar cycle year. According to astrology, it is on this day the sun transitions into Mesha rashi or the English zodiac signs of Aries and is generally on April 14 or April 15. This day is also known as Mesha Sankramana.
The solar cycle year is of major importance to Hindus from Punjab, Orissa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. These states observe different rules to welcome the first day of the solar year based on the exact moment when Sankranti occurs.
Read on to know how each state welcomes Mesha Sankranti in its own unique style.
In Punjab, Mesha Sankranti is celebrated as Vaishakh and is an important day for farmers and peasants. They offer their thanksgiving to the lord for plentiful grain with an abundant harvest. They also pray to God to be blessed with bliss and happiness.
In Orissa or Odisha, Mesha Sankranti is celebrated as Paana Sankranti. If the Sankranti moment occurs before midnight, it is celebrated on the same day. If not, the celebrations take place on the next day. As part of the celebrations, people swallow a liquid called paana containing water and mishri or rock sugar. This paana is said to represent rain. They also consume a mixture of gram flour, curd and banana. A danda naach is also performed on this day.
In Kerala, Mesha Sankranti is celebrated as Vishu. The time between sunrise and sunset is divided into five parts. If the Sankranti moment occurs during the first three parts or Madhyana, the celebrations take place on the same day, else it takes place on the next day.
Vishu Kani is the key highlight of this day and is a visual treat for the eyes. This is a plate with new clothes, jewellery, raw rice, coins, a mirror along with yellow flowers, fruits and vegetables placed in front of the deity. The colour yellow is significant as it symbolises prosperity. Elders make youngsters see this the first thing on Vishu day. This is followed by bursting fireworks and Vishu Kaineetam, a practice of elders giving younger members in the family some money. An elaborate meal or Vishu sadhya with sweet, bitter, sour and salt tastes in the dishes representing the different aspects of life is also prepared.
In Tamil Nadu, Mesha Sankranti is celebrated as Puthandu. If the Sankranti moment arrives after sunrise but before sunset, the year starts on the same day. However, if the moment arrives after sunset, people welcome the arrival of the new year on the next day. The entrance of the house is decorated with mango leaves. Prayers are offered be bestowed with health, prosperity, peace and wealth. A platter of vegetables, fruits, neem leaves and flowers, cash, jewellery and new clothes is placed in front of a mirror on the eve of Puthandu and sighted the first thing the next day. It is also customary to prepare a feast that has various traditional delicacies.
In West Bengal, Mesha Sankranti is celebrated as Pohela Boishakh or Naba Barsha. If the Sankranti moment occurs between sunrise and midnight, the year is said to begin the next day while if it occurs after midnight, the day after next represents the arrival of the new year. People pray for prosperity and distribute sweets to their loved ones. They take part in various processions and several fairs with different types of stalls are held in various parts of the state. The stalls also host entertainment in the form of songs, dances and stage plays.
Irrespective of the various celebrations across the state, Mesha Sankranti is considered to be a good time for dan-punya activities. If the Sankranti moment takes place between sunset and midnight, the second half of the same day is said to be auspicious for engaging in such activities. However, if the moment occurs after midnight, the first half of the following day is taken into consideration.
Written by Deepthi K