Many wishes of happiness, peace, and prosperity to Hindus all around the world on Makar Sankranti!
Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun into Makara rashi or Capricorn (winter solstice). It s the day when the glorious Sun-God begins its ascendancy and entry into the Northern Hemisphere. and is the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day every year: the 14th of January.
Apart from a harvest festival, Makar Sankranti is also regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase. It is said as the 'holy phase of transition'. It marks the end of an inauspicious phase which according to the Hindu calendar begins around mid-December. It is believed that any auspicious and sacred ritual can be sanctified in any Hindu family, this day onwards.
Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights. In other words, Sankranti marks the termination of winter season and beginning of a new harvest or spring season.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious days for the Hindus and is celebrated in almost all parts of India in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion.
Makar Sankranti is known by many names in various parts of India and adjoining countries like Bhogali/Magha Bihu, Magey/Magh/Maghe Sakrati/Sankranti/Skranti, Maghi, Makar Sakrat, Makara Samkranti/Vilakku, Moha, Pi Ma Lao, Pongal, Parbon/Poush Sankranti, Sakraat/Sangkran/Sankranthi/Sankranti/Songkran, Shishur Saenkraat, Suggi, Thingyan, Uttarayan/Utran, Uttarayana Sankranti, etc.
This major harvest festival includes ceremonial dips in Ganges, Ganga Sagar, and other holy streams; visiting temples; helping the poor; praying to Surya and other deities; kite flying; decorating the cattle; congregation of families; lighting of bonfire; rangoli drawing; participating in melas-dances-singing; etc. This is considered the first of the big bathing days.
Since the festival is celebrated in mid winter, food prepared for this festival is such that it keeps the body warm and gives high energy. Traditional savories served on the occasion include boondi-mithai, chhena pudding, chikkis, dahi-chuda, gul-polis, halwa, kheer, khichri, murukku, payasam, til-gul laddu, til-paati, vadai, yellu-bella, etc.