In the Hindu solar calendar, the festival of Vrisha Sankranti is celebrated at the beginning of the second month. This transit of the Sun corresponds to the move from Aries to Taurus. Vrisha Sankranti occurs during the month of Vaishakh in the Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati and Telugu calendars and in the North Indian calendar, it is celebrated during the Hindu month of Jyeshtha. Vrishabha Sankranti is also famous in the southern states of India as Vrishabha Sankranam and according to the solar calendar indicates the beginning of Vrisha season. It is known as Vaigasi Masam in the Tamil calendar, Edavam Masam in the Malayalam calendar and Jyeshto mash in the Bengali calendar. In Orissa, this day is celebrated as 'Braj Sankranti'.
'Vrisha' is a Sanskrit word meaning an ox '. In Hinduism, 'Nandi', the bearer of Lord Shiva is considered an ox and some forms of relationship between these appear in religious texts. Hence the celebration of Vrisha Sankranti has immense religious significance for Hindu devotees. People worship Lord Vishnu on this future day to get the blessings of a happy and prosperous life. They also pray to the Lord to get rid of the continuous cycle of re-birth and attain salvation.
Ritual on Vrisha Sankranti
On the auspicious day of Taurus or Vrisha Sankranti, Hindu devotees donate as it is considered very lucky. The practice of donating the sacred cow to a Brahmin on the day of Vrisha Sankranti is considered very auspicious.
Some devotees also fast on this day, which is known as 'Vrishabha Sankranti Vrat'. They rise before sunrise and take a holy bath. Devotees worship 'Rishbharudar', a name of Lord Shiva and prepare a special bhog. After praying to Lord Shiva, the bhog is distributed and eaten with other family members. Followers of Vrisha Sankranti fast should sleep on the floor at night time.
Devotees visit the temples of Lord Vishnu on Vrisha Sankranti and pray to their lord to attain enlightenment so that they can differentiate between good and evil. Special arrangements are made for this day in the Lord Jagannath temple located in Puri.
There are crowds of Hindu pilgrims on this day because on this day devotees take bath in Sankranti. On the Taurus solstice, people also perform ancestral sacrifices to provide peace to their dead ancestors.
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