One of the most special aspects of this festival is to do charity and help the needy and poor. People donate various items to the underprivileged. The value of doing charity on the day of Makar Sankranti is considered to be much more significant as compared to other days. Here are some affordable, useful things that are considered auspicious forms of dana (donation) on Makar Sankranti:
1. Sesame Seeds
According to the scriptures, Makar Sankranti is also called Til Sankranti, and donating sesame on this day has special significance. Lord Vishnu, Surya, and Shani Dev are worshipped with sesame seeds on this auspicious day.
Fruits are considered to be one of the most auspicious of all donations. They carry nutrition and improve one's health. According to Hindu rituals, there is no better daan (donation) than Annadaan (food donation).
Donating warm blankets on the occasion of Makar Sankranti is also considered very auspicious. Blankets should be donated to those poor or needy on this day. These would aid in protecting them from the ongoing harsh winters. It is worth noting that the blankets should be new, as donating old, useless or junk items is not auspicious.
4. Jaggery Laddoo with Gupt Lakshmi
Jaggery is sweet which is a healthier option compared to sugar. Donating jaggery is said to attract good health. One can donate Sesame-Jaggery Laddoos (Til Gul ke Laddoo) with a hidden coin inside it, which is called donating Gupt Lakshmi. This is encouraged to let go of your ego whilst practising donation.
Donating Khichdi on Makar Sankranti is considered to have special significance. Rice and black urad dal khichdi are donated on this day. Urad dal is believed to be related to Shani Dev and donating it removes Shani Dosha.
A pair of clothes is considered to be a good option to donate to the poor and needy on the day of Makar Sankranti. Remember that these clothes should not be old, used or torn. It is always considered appropriate to donate new clothes. Donating woollen clothes would help those in need to protect themselves from the cold weather.
Kite flying is one of the special rituals of this festival. Hence, colourful kites are one of the best gifts to be distributed among kids on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. One can spread joy and happiness by donating kites to underprivileged children.
8. Steel Utensils
Steel utensils is a very auspicious item for donating on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. They signify happiness and prosperity all through the year. An offering of the new metal utensil should be made depending on the capability of the donor.
As per rituals, vermilion and turmeric are applied on the utensils and a sacred thread (mauli) is tied around them. The utensils are filled with sesame seeds and jaggery. Some money can also be placed inside the utensils and then distributed among those in need. Offering donations on Makar Sankranti is a positive note to start the New Year and can bring happiness and prosperity to you all through the year. However, it is important to not do charity with the thought that one good deed shall wash all your sins. Donate according to your financial level, instead of borrowing or practising donation under some sort of pressure. Apart from this, to make your charity fruitful, the expenses done for donation should be from the money of hard work and honesty. Donations made by money that is earned by hurting someone will not turn fruitful. So, donate selflessly this Makar Sankranti and bring joy and happiness to people's lives.