Ratha Saptami or Surya Jayanti is the day dedicated to the worship of Surya Bhagavan or the Sun God. It is the day that heralds the beginning of spring in South India.
This year it falls on January 26, 2015.
Traditionally this day begins with a ritual bath during sunrise. 7 Jilledu leaves (Arka or Yekka leaves) are placed on the body while taking a bath (1 on the head, and 2 each on shoulders, knees, and feet; or then all 7 on the head).
There is a muggu or rangoli symbolising Surya Bhagawan in his Chariot drawn in front of the home.
Another tradition is that fresh milk is allowed to boil over and then used to make Bellam Paravannam which is offered as Naivedyam to Surya Bhagavan and then distributed as Prasadam.