The Festival of Rathasaptami is observed on the seventh day of the month Magha right after Vasantha Panchami. The festival itself is the celebration of The God-Self Within Human-Self and its direct mirror image-The Sun! This festival is linked to longevity and immortality through attaining highest forms of knowledge and enlightenment.
The Entire Text of Aditya Hridayam is devoted to emphasising the primal essence of the God-Self, deliberately compared to the Sun so that it can be widely understood by humanity. In Hindu culture, this festival has a great priority where the Sun-God is symbolised as riding a sky-chariot on seven horses that depict the visible light spectrum. So people recite Aditya Hridayam along with Gayatri mantra while watching the glorious Ra rising ablaze in the east.
People wake up early to greet the Sun after doing the holy bath. Then they lit up fire before their house with cow dung cake and on it they cook Paramaannam (Rice boiled in milk) as a sacred offering to the Sun God. They make the images of The Sun riding the chariot making way into their houses! This day is also known as ‘Arogya Saptami’ to celebrate the wellbeing and longevity.
– Viswanath Venkat Dasari