Ratha Saptami also known as Achala/Magha Saptami Falls on the seventh day of the bright half of the lunar month, Magha Maasa. This day is dedicated to Lord Suryanarayan. This festival is celebrated by the Hindus across India. The Sun begins its journey towards the northern hemisphere ( Uttarayan ) which according to Hindu astrological reckoning is called Makara Sankranti. After the culmination into Capricorn ,the sun starts gaining momentum on the seventh day. This celestial movement is known as Uttaryan and also as ‘Brahma Marga’ .This day is considered to be very auspicious and divine.
The Spiritual Insight and True Meaning of Ratha Saptami : Ratha means Chariot and is also symbolic of ‘Our Mind’. Our mind always wanders in different directions with innumerable thoughts just like different horses , so inorder to progress and attain peace, The Ratha should be pulled/ channelised towards ‘right direction’. All the right set of horses should pull in the right direction.
It is believed that Surya was born on this day to Sage Kashyapa and his wife Aditi, Arghyadana is offered to Sun God today which is offering water from a small Kalash in Namaskar Mudrav by chanting 12 diffferent names of Surya, Also worshipping Surya or Sun God today will bring you longevity, good health and success.Sweets made out of sesame seeds are offered to Surya as Naivedyam.
Haldi kumkum is the most important part of this Festival for married women. Women organise Haldi kumkum sessions right from Makar Sankranti to this day of Ratha Saptami as per their convenience. Married women adorn themselves in Black Saree,exchange Haldi kumkum, scented flowers, betel leaves, Til Gul vadi ( Sesame seeds and also distribute utility gifts known as ‘vaan’ to other women in family and friends. (This year we are distributing rice & lentil mixture as vaan )
Bor- nahan ( Berry Shower Ceremony) : Bor-nahan or Berry Shower is celebrated for kids below 5 years of age. Boys are dressed as little Sri Krishna and baby Girls in black dress with TIL Gul ornaments. Small children are showered with puffed rice mixed with fruits, veggies and goodies. Literally bathing them with sugarcane pieces, carrot pieces, coins, sugar moulds, peas, berries, chocolates mixed with puffed rice. Its a very old hindu ritual performed to thank God for blessing with us with children, to rice away the negative energy, wishing and blessing them with good health and long life and lots of love. Children from neighbourhood are invited to this ceremony they scramble up to collect all the goodies with their tiny little hands once the bor-nahan is over. Kids loot the goodies so lots of goodies are poured in…. its sheer joy to watch them enjoy this ceremony. Laughter and merriment. Berry Showers are super fun.