Presently, according to the Hindu Solar calendar, January 14th is the celebration date of Makar Sankranti. Thus, this festival is one of the few festivals of the country that is celebrated on a fixed date. Sankranti means the entry of the sun from one zodiac to another. From the south the sun shifts northwards, Daylight hours increase from this day. Traditionally, Makar Sankranti commemorates the harvest festival in India.
As per the history of Makar Sankranti, This particular festival marks the day when the sun after beginning its northward journey enters into the Capricorn zodiac sign or makar rashi from the Tropic of Cancer. It is referred as the movement of sun from Dakshinayana (south) to Uttarayana (north) hemisphere.
During Makar Sankranti it is a tradition for thousands of pilgrims to bathe in Prayag, at the confluence of three sacred rivers; Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, known as Triveni Sangam. Adults, children, even aged men and women, spiritedly fly kites all day. In Gujarat grain from the new harvest is used to cook 'khichdo'. Cows and trees are also offered pujan since man's existence depends on them. People forget and forgive ill will. For this, they ritually offer each other food balls made of sesame seed and jaggery. This is common in Maharashtra too.
In south India, the eve of Makar Sankranti is known as Bhogi. All the waste bric-a-brac in the house is heaped in the front and burnt. In Tamil Nadu it is popularly as Pongal. Pongal means 'to overflow.' Rice is cooked in milk and the rice is allowed to flow over the rim. The symbolism is that one's home should brim with wealth. In Punjab it is known as Lohri, in Assam as Bihu, in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan it is known as Uttararayan.
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