Makar Sankranti

by Pandit Pankaj Guruji

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti

The first Hindu holiday, Makar Sankranti, is observed with tremendous fanfare and zeal throughout India and typically occurs in January. Hindus around India commemorate this important harvest festival, although different states have unique names, customs, and celebrations.

Due to the sun’s northward motion, Makar Sankranti heralds the end of winter and the start of longer days. Because of this, this time is also known as Uttarayan and is seen as being particularly lucky.

The day of Sankranti is dedicated to Lord Surya (i.e. Sun God) and this day is considered significant to worship Surya Deva. Celebrated on the 14th or 15th of January every year, Makar Sankranti marks the onset of longer and warmer days bidding adieu to the winter chill. It marks the beginning of the ascent of The Sun into the northern hemisphere and is celebrated with a lot of pomp and galore.

Makar Sankranti is symbolic of the change of planetary houses that the Sun makes by shifting from Dhnau (Saggitarius) to Makar (Capricorn) during this time of the year. Although Indian festivals are based on the lunar calendar, Makar Sankranti follows the solar calendar and hence is usually celebrated on the same day every year. This also marks the inception of the holy phase of Uttarayana which is considered the best time for attaining mukti.

Makar Sankranti is celebrated all across India by different names and rituals associated with this pious day. Other names include ‘Khichri’ in Uttar Pradesh, ‘Pongal’ in Tamil Nadu, ‘Bhogali Bihu’ in Assam, ‘Sakarat’ in Central India, and ‘Lohri’ in Punjab and northern India.

Makar Sankranti 2024 Date, Tithi, Muhurat

In 2024, Makar Sankranti will fall on 15 January 2024.

Punya Kaal Muhurat: 15 January 2024 from 7:14 AM to 12:36 PM

Maha Punya Kaal Muhurat: 15 January 2024 from 7:14 AM to 9:02 AM

India celebrates Makar Sankranti, which is significant in astronomy, culture, and agriculture.

Makar Sankranti, observed by Hindus on 14 January each year, also commemorates the astronomical event of the sun entering Capricorn, known as “Makar” in Hindi. Hindus view this changeover as auspicious and observe several ceremonies and traditions.

Makar Sankranti is a significant event in India’s culture that honours fresh starts. In several regions of India, farmers started harvesting their crops, particularly their rice and sugarcane. The celebration is an occasion for giving thanks and expressing gratitude for a plentiful harvest.

In terms of agriculture, Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of a new season and is a time when people pray for their own and their families’ health and prosperity and for the ground to be ready to provide its harvest.

Makar Sankranti is a very auspicious day to perform any puja, especially Satyanarayan Puja, Office Puja, Griha Pravesh Puja, Shuddhi Puja and Havan.

History and Mythology of Makar Sankranti

  • The tale of the goddess Sankranti and the demon Sankarasur is among the most well-known stories surrounding Makar Sankranti. The inhabitants of the world were terrorised by the strong demon Sankarasur. After a bloody struggle, the goddess Sankranti defeated Sankarasur, who had fallen to earth. The festival of Makar Sankranti honours the goddess Sankranti’s triumph against Sankarasur.
  • The Mahabharata mythology is another one connected to Makar Sankranti. The legendary warrior Bhishma Pitamah of the Mahabharata suffered a fatal wound at the battle of Kurukshetra. He was granted the gift of selecting when he would pass away and decided to do so on Makar Sankranti. On Makar Sankranti, it is thought that individuals who pass away obtain moksha or freedom from the cycle of life and death.
  • In Hindu mythology, Makar Sankranti is a prominent holiday. On this day, according to legend, the sun deity Surya starts moving northward through the zodiac. The winter solstice has passed, and spring has officially arrived.
  • The goddess Lakshmi is also connected to Makar Sankranti. The goddess Lakshmi, associated with wealth and prosperity, is considered especially kind to Makar Sankranti. On this day, Lakshmi is frequently prayed to for luck and prosperity.
  • Sikhism and Jainism are two more Indian religions that observe Makar Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is referred to as Lohri in Sikhism. The celebration of Lohri marks the end of winter and the start of spring. Additionally, it is a time to commemorate Guru Gobind Singh’s birth, the tenth Sikh Guru.
  • Makar Sankranti is also referred to as Magha Sukla Panchami in Jainism. The Magha Sukla Panchami festival commemorates Mahavira’s birth, the 24th and last Tirthankara of Jainism.
  • For many Indians, Makar Sankranti is a significant holiday. It is a time to rejoice in the beginning of the harvest season, to worship Surya, the sun deity, and to express gratitude for all that is good in life.

Rituals of Makar Sankranti across India

  • Different rituals are practiced in different states of India. Some of the key rituals of Makar Sankranti festival and its celebration are given below.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, ritual holy bath is taken by people in the Ganges. The famous ‘Magh Mela’ starts on this day at the Prayag in Allahabad.
  • In Punjab, the local people lit bonfires on the eve of Sankranti and perform puja around the sacred fire by throwing rice and sweets into it. This is followed by grand feasts and their native ‘bhangra’ dance around the fire.
  • In Maharashtra, Sankranti is marked by the making and exchange of various kinds of sweets made of jaggery and sesame seeds. People greet each other and the married women of the house buy utensils. These are also exchanged as gifts which are known as ‘Haldi Kumkum’ which is an age-old tradition followed in this region.
  • In Gujarat, kite flying is of prime importance on that day. Other holy rituals like giving gifts to younger members of the family are a common practice during Makar Sankranti.
  • In Tamil Nadu and other parts of southern India, this day marks the worship of the harvest God. Local people harvest their paddy on this day and sweets made up of rice, pulses, and milk cooked in ghee are offered to the family deity. This festival known as Pongal is the biggest festival celebrated by South Indians.
  • In Bengal, the famous Ganga Sagar Mela starts on this day. This is located in the delta regions of the Ganga where the river merges with the Bay of Bengal. People take holy dips in the river on this day offering early morning pujas to the Sun God at dawn.

Traditions of Makar Sankranti

  • Taking a holy bath in a river or lake is one of the most significant customs associated with Makar Sankranti. It is thought to rid the body and soul of impurities and bring luck and wealth.
  • On Makar Sankranti, Surya, the sun god, is worshipped. They praise Surya for his favours by making prayers and sacrifices for him. Makar Sankranti is a day to thank Surya, who is revered as the provider of life and vitality.
  • The lighting of bonfires and the flying of kites are two additional well-known Makar Sankranti customs.
  • On Makar Sankranti, special meals are cooked and served. The most well-liked foods include Khichdi, til ladoo, and jaggery. These foods are regarded as auspicious and thought to bring prosperity and good fortune.
  • People exchange gifts with friends and family members during Makar Sankranti. It is a way to commemorate the harvest season’s beginning and express our love and gratitude for one another.
  • In addition to the abovementioned customs and practices, Makar Sankranti is observed in many ways throughout India. For instance, celebrations and fairs are conducted in various locations to honour the anniversary. People do unique dances and melodies in other locations. Donating money, food, and clothing to the needy and underprivileged on Makar Sankranti is considered lucky. Social events also take place during Makar Sankranti.

Regional Celebrations of Makar Sankranti in India

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir is home to the well-known celebration of Makara Sankranti. Since it heralds the arrival of spring, this holiday is celebrated in this frigid region with much pomp and revelry. The valley is revitalised by the chattering of birds and the new growth of plants during this solar shift, which ushers in a delightful season. This celebration also serves as a means to say goodbye to winter’s incisive bites and welcome the advent of spring. On this day, the entire area decks itself out in beautiful decorations and dons a festive appearance.

Uttar Pradesh: This festival is called Khichadi in Uttar Pradesh. Khichadi and sesame are given to the underprivileged on this day. The two most significant aspects of the celebration in Uttar Pradesh are kite flying and holy bathing.

Bihar: Sakraat or Khichdi are the traditional names for the celebration in Bihar and Jharkhand. The people bring offerings to God and take a holy bath, much like in other regions of the nation. They consume laddoos made of til, eat Dahi-chuda with Kohada or red pumpkin Bujiya, and throw til into the fire. They consume Khichdi in the evening, which is made of rice, papad, ghee, and pickles. Some people favour including chatni and other side dishes.

Bengal: Poush Sankranti is the name of the celebration in West Bengal. The traditional Bengali sweets, Patali and Khejurer Gur are made with newly harvested paddy and date palm syrup. On this day, worshippers honour the goddess Lakshmi. Most people swim in the Ganga Sagar, where the River Ganga and the Bay of Bengal converge.

Tamil Nadu: On Makar Sankranti, also known as Surya Pongal, the Tamil month of Thai officially begins. Women get up early to create beautiful Kolams (rangolis) in front of their homes. They are made from rice powder. Insects and other organisms are said to feed on this rice flour, keeping them away from the stored grains and other raw goods in the home.

Assam: Assam celebrates Makar Sankranti, also known as Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu, as a harvest festival with feasting lasting over a week. On the eve of the celebration, people build temporary structures called Meji along a river out of bamboo, leaves, and thatch. People spend the night in the hut, where they feast for the whole group, sing songs in the Bihu language, play games, and beat drums. They take a bath the next morning before burning the huts. The harvesting year ends when they light the hut on fire, fling rice cakes, and betel nuts into it, and pray to the God of Fire. The celebration is associated with many traditional games, including pot-breaking and buffalo combat.

Rajasthan: In Rajasthan, married women greet their in-laws with pranams and present them with wheat laddu, ghebar, and sesame balls, along with a rupee coin.

Uttrakhand: One of the well-known Hindu holidays, Makar Sankranti or Ghugutia, is enthusiastically observed in Uttarakhand. The sun transitions from the sign of Cancer to the sign of Capricorn on this day, according to Hindu scriptures. The sun’s northward transit occurred today. Given the change in season, migratory birds also return to the highlands.


Makar Sankranti is a very fortunate time to start a new life. It has been decided that today will be the day that everyone who is already seeking Nirvana or the truth begins their journey. Performing puja on this day could be very beneficial for you. SmartPuja makes performing pujas and other religious ceremonies on Makar Sankranti easy and convenient.

FAQs Related to Makar Sankranti

1. Why is Makar Sankranti considered a harvest festival in many parts of India?

Because it coincides with the winter solstice and the start of spring, Makar Sankranti is regarded as a harvest festival in many regions of India. Farmers rejoice over the abundance of food they have produced during this time when the crops are ready for harvest.

2. How do foods like Khichdi, Pongal (dish), and Til Laddoo relate to the festival’s traditions?

The festival’s customs attach a special meaning to these foods. On Makar Sankranti, eating Khichdi is believed to bring luck and prosperity for the upcoming year. Given that it is offered to the sun god Surya on Makar Sankranti, Pongal is thought to have religious significance. On Makar Sankranti, eating til laddoo brings prosperity, happiness, and good health in the upcoming year.

3. Why is Makar Sankranti considered an astronomical event?

The six-month Uttarayana period begins on Makar Sankranti when the sun enters Capricorn on its celestial route.

4. What is the significance of sesame seeds (til) and jaggery (gur) during this Makar Sankranti festival?

They are regarded as two of the meals that are best for winter since they both assist the body in staying warm and boosting immunity.

5. Different names of Makar Sankranti Outside of India?

– Nepal: Maghe Sankranti
– Bangladesh: Poush Sankranti
– Sri Lanka: Thai Pongal
– Singapore: Thai Pongal
– Malaysia: Thai Pongal
– Thailand: Songkran (Thai New Year)
– Mauritius: Ganga Asnan
– Trinidad and Tobago: Makar Sankranti
– Guyana: Makar Sankranti
– Suriname: Makar Sankranti
– South Africa: Makar Sankranti
– Fiji: Makar Sankranti


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