Makar Sankranti Festival

Makar Sankranti, also known as Makara Sankrant or Sankranthi, is an important Hindu harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. Celebrated in the Hindu Calendar month of Magha (mid January - mid February), Makar Sankranti is the day when the Sun God enters into the Northern Hemisphere, denoting the beginning of Uttarayana Punya Kaalam. Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti means transition and Makar Sankaranti marks the transition of the Sun into Capricorn on its celestial path.

Makara Sankranti also honors the worship of Goddess Saraswati and also for the departed ancestors. As this festival is dedicated to Sun God, people take a holy dip at Prayag and Ganga Sagar (important pilgrimage centers of India) to worship Sun.

Mythological Significance of Makar Sankranti Festival

According to legends, on this day, the Sun God visits the house of his son, Shani (Saturn) who is the Lord of Makar Rashi (Capricorn). Though father and son do not have a cordial relationship, Lord Surya comes to his son’s house, for a month. This denotes the importance of special relationship of father and son.

It is said that the ‘day’ of Devatas begins from Uttarayana and the ‘night’ of devatas is said to be Dakshinayana. Therefore, most of the auspicious events are done during this time. Uttarayana is also called as Devayana, and the next half is called Pitrayana.

Makara Sankranti Festival in India

Makar Sankranti is celebrated differently in various parts of the country. In Andhra Pradesh, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as a 3 day harvest festival known as Pedda Panduga, while in Assam the festival is known as Bhogali Bihu, in Haryana and Punjab the festival is known as Lohri, in Uttar Pradesh Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Khichiri festival and in Tamil Nadu Makar Sankranti is known as Pongal Festival and celebrated for four days.