Statue of Surya in New Delhi, India. By JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com). (Own work.) [GFDL 1.2 or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Statue of Surya in New Delhi, India.
By JJ Harrison ([email protected]). (Own work.) [GFDL 1.2 or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Offerings of water and flowers to the sun god

Dhanu Sankranti is a holiday celebrated in Indian mythology. It is also known as Dhanu Sankraman. The celebration of this holiday occurs when the sun crosses over to the zodiac sign Sagittarius. In Indian mythology, Sagittarius is also known as the Dhanu Rashi. In a Hindu calendar year, the sun crosses over to different zodiac signs a total of twelve times. This phenomenon is called Sankrati. This means that there are twelve Sankratis in a Hindu calendar year.

The Dhanu Sankranti signifies the start of the ninth month in a traditional Hindu year. This holiday is mostly celebrated in the state of Orissa, India. The day is a day of celebrating the Lord Jagannath and the Lord Surya. The devotees celebrate this day with gusto as it is considered as the beginning of the month of plenty.

In 2017, the Dhanu Sankranti will start on Saturday, December 16. The day begins with celebrating the Lord Surya (sun god). Early in the morning devotees of Lord Surya will offer the sun god water and special prayers. These offerings are also accompanied by flowers. Orissa natives will then bathe in sacred rivers such as Ganga, Godavari, and Yamuna. The devotees believe doing this will bring forth success. Lord Jagannath receives offerings in the form of delicacies such as sweetened rice and flowers.

Theatrical plays depicting the life of Lord Krishna are also staged during this period. The plays showcase his visit to Mathura. The legend states that he was invited by Kansa to witness the ceremony of Dhanu Yatara. Balaram had also been invited and Kansa had conceived a plot to kill them both during the proceedings of Dhanu Yatra.

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