Karka 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.
Karka Sankranti is the transition of the Sun from Mithuna Rasi to Karka Rasi. This also is celebrated as the onset of the Hindu month Ashada. It signifies the commencement of Dakshinayana Punya Kalam.
For Devas, one year of human life is equal to one day. Dakshinayana Punya Kalam is considered as the second half of the day of Devas. It lasts for six months upto the onset of Uthrayana Punya Kalam on Makar Sankranthi day.
Karka Sankranti occurs on Friday, 16th July 2021. The exact commencement Dakshinayana Punya Kalam of has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendars.
Karka Sankranti is also called as Karkataka Sankramam and Dakshina Karkataka Jayanthi.
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 Aani (Jyeshta) and Aadi (Aashada), the following travel with Sri Surya.
Adityas – Mithra and Varuna
Rishis – Athri and Vasishta
Gandharvas – Hahaa and Hehee
Apsaras – Menaka and Sahajanya
Nagas – Dakshasa and Anantha
Rakshas – Paurusheya and Budha
Karka Sankranti – Rituals
-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 etc., are to be sincerely recited. As this day marks the beginning of Dakshinayana Punya Kalam, special prayers are to be offered to Lord Vishnu.
-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.