Makar Sankranti is celebrated with much fervor across the country. The festival marks the beginning of an auspicious phase of transition and also after the days grow longer and the nights shorter till the next equinox. It is around the same time when the cold and short days becomes slightly longer and warmer. On the day of Makar Sankranti, the sun enters the sphere of Capricorn zodiac (Makar Rashi). The day is known by different name in different states, like in Tamil Nadu it is known as Pongal, in Gujarat and Rajasthan it is known as Uttarayana and in Haryana and Punjab, it is known as Maghi. The festival is celebrated with much fervour and enthusiasm. In 2019, Makar Sankranti falls on January 15.
Makar Sankranti is also the harvest festival of India. During this period, crops are sown and the hard work in the field is complete, thus giving people the time to celebrate and rejoice. There is also a tradition of flying kites. Various fairs are organised in different parts of the country
As per the Hindu mythology, sesame seeds (til) helps to cleanse the soul and improve spiritual awakening. Sesame seeds are found in almost every Makar Sankranti recipes. Tilgul is the most popular dish during Makar Sankranti, made with sesame seeds and jaggery. In Maharashtra, there is a tradition of exchanging sweets made of til (sesame seeds) such as tilgul ladoo and gulachi poli – these foods give energy as well as helps to keep us warm. Tilgul is made of sesame seeds and jaggery and is considered as a token of goodwill and while exchanging it people greet each other with the words, “Til gul ghyaa, goad goad bola!’ meaning ‘eat tilgul and speak sweet words’.
The duration between Makar Sankranti and 40 ghatis is considered auspicious. One ghati is a duration of 24 minutes, thus 40 ghatis is equal to approx 16 hours. This duration is called ‘Punya Kaal’ and activities part of the festival such as offering bhog, offering prayers and charity are done during this period. If Makar Sankranti happens after sunset then all the Punya Kaal activities are postponed for the next day.
Punya kaal muhurat: 7:18 am to 12:47 pm on January 15, 2019.
Mahapunya kaal muhurat: 7:18 am to 9:08 am
Sankranti moment: 8:05 pm on January 14