Jan 13, 2024
Makar Sankranti is a significant Hindu festival celebrated annually on January 14 or 15. The festival marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makar in Hindi) and is associated with the winter solstice.
It signifies the beginning of the sun’s journey towards the north, ushering in auspicious and warmer times. The days start to get longer after Makar Sankranti and this period of Uttarayan lasts for around six months.
The history of Makar Sankranti dates back to ancient times, emphasizing the importance of agriculture in the country. It is a time when people get rid of old things in their house and buy new things, hoping the entire year is full of success, good luck, and prosperity.
Lord Indra, the God of rains, and Lord Surya, the Sun God, are both worshipped on this day to seek blessings for a great harvest and happiness in the coming year. Foods made with rice, jaggery, sugarcane, sesame seeds, maize, peanuts among others are made.
The festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm across the country though its rituals and name vary. It’s known as Pousha Sankranti in West Bengal, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Uttarayan in Gujarat, Lohri in Punjab, and Magh Bihu in Assam.
Hindus also take a holy dip in rivers like Ganga and Yamuna during this time and once in 12 years, Kumbh Mela is organized. It is believed that the one who dies during the auspicious period of Uttarayan gets salvation from the cycle of death and birth.
Makar Sankranti, celebrated on January 15, 2024, holds historical and religious significance. It marks the transition of the Sun into Capricorn and is associated with the winter solstice. Legends say that Lord Surya visits his son Shani on this day, and it grants immediate salvation to those who die.