Dhanu Sankranti is one of the twelve Sankranti days which occur in a year. Sankranti occurs when the Sun does transition from one house to the other in the zodiac signs. Simply, Sankranti signifies the beginning of the new month in the Hindu calendar.
Dhanu Sankranti is the transition of the Sun from Vruschika Rasi to Dhanu Rasi. It occurs in the Hindu month Margashira. In Tamil regions, this denotes the commencement of Margazhi month.
Dhanu Sankranti occurs on Thursday, 16th December 2021. The exact commencement of Dhanu Sankranti has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars. The festival is also called as Dhanu Sankramam.
Dhanu Sankranti heralds the commencement of Dhanur Mas. It is celebrated grandly at Puri, Orissa. The entire shore stretch is full of festivities as the devotees sing, dance and enact the life story of Lord Sri Krishna for fifteen days. Special prayers are offered to Sri Jagannath.
As per Bhavishya Puran, Lord Surya’s Chariot was designed by Sri Brahma Himself. It is driven by Aruna, the Sarathy of Sri Surya. The Chariot is pulled by seven horses which depict seven days of the week.
Apart from Sri Surya, two Adityas, two Rishis, two Gandharvas, two Apsaras, two Nagas and two Rakshas (demons) also travel in the chariot. For every pair of two months, the travelers change.
For the two months pair of Margazhi (Margashira) and Thai (Dhanur), the following travel with Sri Surya.
Adityas – Amsha and Bagha
Rishis – Kashyap and Kirathu
Gandharvas – Chitrangatha and Urnabu
Apsaras – Parvasiddhi and Urvashi
Nagas – Dharkshya and Avishtanemi
Rakshas – Avusurja and Vidhyut
The general rituals pertaining any Masik Sankranti are as given below:
-Holy dip / bath has to be taken, if possible, in rivers like Ganga, Yamuna and Godavari. If bath is taken in a river, both the hands should be joined in a cup, some water has to be taken from the running river and poured back into the river looking at the Sun.
-Pithur tharpana for the departed souls of the family is observed.
-Puja place at home is to be decorated with lamps, dhup and flowers.
-Stotrams invoking Lord Surya such as Sri Surya Gayathri Manthra, Adithya Hrudhaya Stotram, Surya Chalisa, Surya Ashtakam, Surya Kavacham, Surya Ashtothara Satha Namavali etc., are to be sincerely recited. Especially for Dhanu Sankranti, reading and reciting of Vishnu Sahasra Namam is considered to be beneficial.
-Sweets are to be offered as Neivedyam and distributed to all.
– Mostly fasting is observed. For those who cannot do fasting, only sattvic food has to be partaken.
-Daan / donation of either food or money or clothing or any other item can be made to the poor and the needy.
It is believed that making daan on this day shall bring in prosperity.