Rath Saptami is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated on 'Saptami' during the Shukla Paksha of the month of 'Magha' in the Hindu calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, this date falls from mid-January to February. Rath Saptami usually comes after the celebration of Sri Panchami or Vasant Panchami. The festival is dedicated to the Sun God and is also known as 'Surya Jayanti', 'Magha Jayanti' or 'Magha Saptami'. Lord Surya is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On this day, the birth anniversary of the Sun God is celebrated and it is believed that on this day the Sun God enchanted the whole world.
It is believed that on the day of Magha Shukla Paksha Saptami, Lord Surya was seated on his golden chariot which is driven by seven white horses. In India, many temples have also been built in honor of Lord Surya and all these temples hold special programs and ceremonies on Rath Saptami. The festivities at Tirumala Tirupati Balaji temple with special worship arrangements are very famous. Rath Saptami has special significance in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The next year i.e. in 2021, Rath Saptami is going to be Friday 19 February.
Ritual during Rath Saptami
On the day of Rath Saptami, devotees get up before sunrise to take a holy bath. Taking a bath on Rath Saptami is an important ritual and should be performed only at the time of Arunodaya. It is believed that by taking holy bath during this time one gets rid of all diseases and diseases and wishes for good health. For this reason, Rath Saptami is also known as ‘Arogya Saptami’. In Tamil Nadu, devotees bathe using Iruku leaves.
After completing the bath, devotees offer 'Arghyadan' to the Sun God at sunrise. Along with chanting the twelve different names of the Sun God each time, many people also perform this ritual 12 times.
It is believed that those who follow all these rituals to Surya Dev get good health, longevity and success.
On this day, women make beautiful Rangoli in front of their homes. The milk is poured into an earthen pot and it is boiled by the sunlight. This milk is used to make sweet rice or ecstasy bhoga to offer to the Sun God.
Chanting of 'Gayatri Mantra' and reciting Surya Sahasranama is considered very auspicious on this day.
Importance of Rath Saptami
The day of Rath Saptami is very auspicious for Hindus. In Hinduism, the Sun God is called the God of Health and is worshiped for good health and longevity. It is also believed that by worshiping the Sun God on this day, one gets rid of all kinds of sins from present or past births.
Rath Saptami is a symbol of the movement of the Sun God in his chariot towards the Northern Hemisphere. This day marks the arrival of the summer season and also indicates the rising temperature.
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