Makar-Sankranthi - Pongal
To-day is Makar-Sankranthi, the transit of the Sun into the constellation of Capricon. The monh of Makaram starts on this day, also it is the start of Uttarayana, for six months, when the Sun traverses the upper latitudes beyond the Equator, upto 23 1/2 degrees. In Tamilnadu, it is celebrated as Pongal and in Andhra as Ugadi.
The Sun is the life-giver for earth, and everything that happens here, including our own origin and the origin of all forms of life, vegetation, the rains, the weather is owing to it. For the farmer, the harvest time is now. All celebrations connote a big thanksgiving to the Sun God, for all the favours received.
The truth, though, is that the Sun does not move, except on its own axis, and due to the extreme temperature prevailing on it. Everything else, including our Earth is in a constant state of flux. While the earth is rising and setting in relation to the Sun, we say that the Sun rises and sets, or that it transits from the South to the North or vice versa. The Earth's spin on its own axis - spurred also by the 23 1/2 degrees inclination - is what causes the apparent transit above and below the Equator. This is like our feeling movement inside a stationary railway train, when another train outside is actually moving!
Celebrate Pongal, thank the Sun God, and make merry. Greetings to all of you on this great occasion.