The festival of Vrishabha Sankranti marks the planetary shift of Sun to the Vrishabha Rashi from Mesha Rashi during the month of ‘Vaishakh.’ As per the North Indian calendar, it is observed during the Hindu month of ‘Jyeshta.' Vrishabha Sankranti or Vrushabha Sankraman signifies the beginning of the Vrishabha season according to the solar calendar. It also marks the onset of Vaigasi Masam in Tamil Nadu, ‘Edavam masam’ in Kerala, ‘Jyeshto mash’ in the Bengal and ‘Brusha Sankranti’ in Odisha.
The word ‘vrushabha’ in Sanskrit implies ‘bull.’ In Hindu religion, ‘Nandi’ is Lord Shiva’s mount. The religious scriptures have mentioned a kind of relation between these two. Hence, the celebration of Vrishabha Sankranti has immense religious importance. People worship Lord Vishnu on this auspicious day to be blessed with a happy and prosperous life as well as to get freedom from the continuous cycle of re-birth and attain salvation.
Significance of Vrishabha Sankranti:
As per the Indian Vedic Astrology, Sankranti is personified of being approximately 432 km long and wide. According to Indian belief, this personification is considered to be inauspicious and hence the Sankranti period is believed to be unsuitable for performing auspicious rituals. The duration of Sankranti is considered highly momentous for penance, charity and shradh rituals. Devotees take a dip in the holy rivers, perform Shradh rituals for their forefathers and offer a donation to the needy.
Like other 12 Sankrantis in the Hindu calendar, Vrishabha Sankranti is also favorable for performing Charity. However, the only specific window is considered most favorable for observing Sankranti related activities. On Vrishabha Sankranti, the duration between 16 Ghati (with 1 day equals 60 Ghatis) before Sankranti until the main Sankranti moment is the best time for performing out any good activities.
Hindu devotees do charity as it is considered very fortunate on the day of Vrishabha Sankranti. ‘Godan,’ a practice of donating a holy cow to a Brahmin is believed to be very auspicious on Vrishabha Sankranti. Devotees also observe known as ‘Vrishabha Sankranti vrat’ or fast. They wake up before sunrise and take a holy bath. The devotees worship ‘Rishabharudar,’ an incarnation of Lord Shiva and prepare a special ‘Bhog’ from payasam and rice. After praying to Lord Shiva, the prasad is distributed among friends and family members. The observer of the Vrishabha Sankranti vrat should sleep on the floor during the night. Devotees visit temples of Lord Vishnu on the occasion of Vrishabha Sankranti and pray to Lord. Devotees seek wisdom to differentiate between good and evil. Special arrangements are made for this day at Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri. At several Hindu pilgrimages sites, devotees undertake the Sankramana Snan on this day. By performing a pious snan, they pay homage to Sun God and their forefathers. Devotees also perform Pitra Tarpan to offer peace to their dead ancestors on this day.