Our country has a rich history of cultures and traditions. Every tradition has a particular reason on why it is followed and an interesting story behind it.
Hinduism is a polytheistic religion which worships many gods. Apart from the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, other natural elements such as air, land, water and fire are also celebrated and worshipped, as they are the ones which sustain all life forms on the Earth.
But the most important God who is widely celebrated after the Hindu trinity is The Sun God or Lord Suryanarayana.
Significance Of The Sun In Hindu Mythology
Lord Surya is a very important God, according to the Hindu mythology. He is said to be the source of life on Earth. The heat and light it provides, helps the plants to grow, which sustain both humans and animals on the planet.
Basically, all life on earth is due to the Sun God. The Sun also forms the centre of our solar system, with all the nine planets revolving around it. The Sun also is a very important part in Vedic astrology.
What Is Ratha Sapthami And When Is It Celebrated?
Ratha Sapthami is a festival of the Hindus, which is especially dedicated to the Sun lord. It is celebrated every year on the seventh day of the Hindu month of Maagha.
It is the time when Lord Surya travelled to the Northern hemisphere in his chariot drawn by seven horses. This is a symbolic representation of the arrival of the spring season and a new agricultural season as well.
Some scriptures also mention that it was the birthday of Lord Surya himself. This year, Ratha Sapthami will be celebrated on January 24th.
This day is grandly observed in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana. Other names of Ratha Sapthami include Magha Sapthami, which is celebrated in Orissa and as Surya Jayanti in other regions.
Significance Of Ratha Sapthami
Ratha Sapthami is considered to be a very auspicious day for the Hindus. It is at this time where the Sun moves from the Southeast to the Northeast.
It also symbolises a new season for the farmers. According to ancient scriptures, the Sun God is the provider of health and wealth.
It is believed that whoever wakes up early in the morning and worships the Sun, he will be bestowed with the God's blessings all throughout the year and will have a good harvest season.
It is also said that Lord Surya was born on this day to his parents sage Kashyapa and Aditi. The most common image of Lord Surya, which is worshipped on this day is that he rides his Ratha or the chariot, which is drawn by seven horses. These seven horses represent the seven colours of the rainbow.
Rituals And Traditions Followed On Ratha Sapthami
On this day, the members at home wake up in the morning and bathe. The front porch of the homes is then adorned with rangoli representing the Sun God.
Women of the house take bath by placing seven Arka leaves on their body along with some turmeric and raw rice.
The placement of the leaves too should be as such: One leaf on the head, two on the shoulders, two on the knees and two leaves on the foot.
Men should only use the leaves without the turmeric. The Surya Namaskara is also performed extensively on this day to please the lord.
People visit temples dedicated to the Sun Lord and offer their prayers. Stotras such as Adithya Hridayam and Surya Ashthakam are recited.
These stotras bring a lot of good health, wealth and success to its reciters. After the prayers, chakkara pongal is prepared and distributed along with coconuts, bananas and other fruits.