Uttarayan and Dakshinayan
We know that a year contains two solstices, or Aayanants, which mark the movement of the Earth on the East-West directional axis. It takes a year for us to complete a circular rotation around the Sun, viz. East-West and West-East. Due to our position, we perceive the Sun revolving around us instead of the other way around. Hence, we observe that the Sun moves from South to North during December-June (Summer Solstice) and from North to South during June-December (Winter Solstice).
The summer solstice is also known as Uttarayan. It begins around 22nd December and lasts for 6 months. We experience the seasons of Late Winter, Spring, and Summer during this time. Uttarayan serves as a symbol of positivity, and auspicious activities are encouraged to be performed in this time span. The days happen to be longer than nights in the summer solstice.
Dakshinayan is the name for winter solstice. It commences around 22nd June approximately. There is a marked difference in the daylight; the nights are longer than the days. At the beginning, we experience monsoon, followed by autumn and winter. Dakshinayan is associated with negativity, which is why auspicious activities or rituals are not recommended to be performed in this stretch.
The beginning of Uttarayan is celebrated in Hinduism with the festival of Makar Sankranti which takes place very close to the date of the actual Uttarayan movement. The Puranas further supplement its sanctity- It is believed to be the day that the Ganga River descended to the Earth from Heaven; even Bhishma Pitamah waited until the arrival of Uttarayan to sacrifice his life.
The ritual of Magh Snan prescribes bathing in holy rivers, and is one of the occasions of the Uttarayan festivities. This is because summers bring clear skies and enlightenment from the gods; Uttarayan is their daytime. Similarly, the cloudy skies of Dakshinayan symbolise night time. In terms of sadhana, Uttarayan is for enlightenment and Dakshinayan is for purification.
This year Uttarayan will end and Dakshinayan will start on Saturday 16 July 2022.
Disclaimer: Astrological services are based on information given by clients and the Astrologer (author) is not liable and responsible for any correctness of analysis or any loss occurred due to the analysis as the same is given basis on the planet status as of the day of prediction.