Makar Sankranti is also dubbed ‘Poush Sankranti’ and is one of the few Hindu festivals that is aligned with the solar cycle. This year, Makar Sankranti will fall on Sunday, January 15, 2023.
It heralds a change in season, as from this day the Sun begins its movement from Dakshinayana (South) to Uttarayana (North) hemisphere, marking the official end of Winters.
According to Vedas, Sankranti deciphers the movement of the Sun from one rashi (constellation of the zodiac) to the next. Hence, there are 12 Sankrantis in a year.
‘Makar’ means ‘Capricorn’ and the movement of the sun into ‘Makara Raashi’ or the ‘Zodiac of Capricorn’ is called Makar Sankranti.
The festival also marks the beginning of the harvest season when new crops are worshipped and shared with delight.
On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, people express their gratitude towards the people of India throughout the year by worshiping the sun God in various forms. Any meritorious deeds or donations during this period establish more fruitful.
In different regions of the country, Makar Sankranti is celebrated by different names
In North India ( Punjab, Haryana, Delhi), the festival is known as Lohri. At night, people gather around the bonfire and throw til, puffed rice & popcorns into the flames of the bonfire. Prayers are offered to the bonfire seeking abundance & prosperity.
In Bihar, Makar Sankranti is known as Khichdi. On this day, donating urad, rice, gold, woollen clothes, blankets, etc.
In Maharashtra, all married women donate cotton, oil, and salt to other suhagin or married women on their first Sankrant.
In Bengal, there is a tradition of donating til after taking bath on Makar Sankrant. A huge fair is also organised every year in Gangasagar.
In Tamil Nadu, the festival is known as Pongal and is celebrated for four days.
In Gujarat, the kite festival is organized on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.
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