India is a vast land, a land where people from different casts and religion come together and attain a harmony beyond comparison to any other culture in the world. One thing which brings people together in the country is festival. Festivals, with their bright colours and delicious smells possess the ability to capture all hearts and entwine all minds. Festivals have the power to bring joy in all sorts of lives they touch. India being a country of festivals provides the perfect platform where people come together and celebrate.
The Dakshinayana festival
Over the years some festivals have faded from the Hindu calendar, some have become less important than the others. Dakshinayana Shankranti is one of those festivals which have become less important for most Hindus, over the years. It is the night time of the Gods and lasts for six months or till Makar Shankranti whichever is earlier.
Occurrence and significance of the Dakshinayana Shankranti
In the state of Tamil Nadu, India the month of Aadi marks the beginning of Dakshinayana or Pitrayana. The people believe that Lord Krishna goes to sleep during this period and the Ekadashi just before this Dakshinayana Shankranti is known as Deva Sayani Ekadashi among the local people.
The festival has very important scientific grounds as well. The movement of the Sun is described by the name Dakshinayana when the Sun rays are more concentrated over the Dakshin or Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. The Dakshinayana phase of the sun will last for six months till the month of January after which Makar Shankranti will lead to the Uttarayana phase.
There are traditional two methods which can be considered while calculating the movement of the Sun in ancient Hindu shastras. The first one being the DrikaSiddhanta method according to which Dakshinayana starts when the sayana sun enters cancer. However the more popular Nirayana system preaches that the commencement of the festival will be when nirayanasurya enters cancer.
The Dakshinayana is celebrated among Hindus during the month of July. In this year it will be celebrated on 16th of July 2013, a Tuesday.
Hindu mythology states that one day in the Devlok, is equivalent to a year in the human world. So Dakshinayana translates to being the daytime in for the Devas and Uttarayana being the night time. Ancient Hindu sages, it can be derived from such calculations were very much and well aware of the celestial movements of galaxies bodies.
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