Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti, also known as Maghi or Uttarayan, is a significant Hindu festival that marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makar Rashi). Celebrated on the 14th of January each year, Makar Sankranti will be celebrated on 15 January 2024 this year. It signifies the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of longer days as the sun starts its northward journey. This article will delve into the traditions, rituals, and significance of Makar Sankranti 2024.

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti Rituals and Customs

Makar Sankranti is a festival filled with vibrant customs and traditions that vary from one region to another. Here are some common rituals observed during Makar Sankranti:

Kite Flying – Symbol of Joy and Celebration

One of the most iconic and cherished traditions of Makar Sankranti is kite flying. People of all ages participate in this exhilarating activity, filling the skies with colorful kites. The act of flying kites represents the celebration of new beginnings, the triumph of light over darkness, and the joyous spirit of the festival.

Offering Prayers and Bathing in Holy Rivers

On the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti, devotees wake up early in the morning and take a holy dip in sacred rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, or Godavari. It is believed that this ritual purifies the soul and brings blessings for prosperity and spiritual growth. Many devotees also offer prayers and perform rituals at river banks, temples, and sacred places.

Preparing and Sharing Traditional Delicacies

Makar Sankranti is synonymous with indulging in a variety of traditional delicacies. Sweet dishes like til-gur (sesame and jaggery), gajak (sesame brittle), chikki (peanut brittle), and khichdi (a savory dish made with rice and lentils) hold a special place during the festivities. People exchange these homemade delicacies with friends, family, and neighbors as a gesture of love and goodwill.

Significance of Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti holds deep cultural and religious significance in Hindu mythology. Here are some key aspects that highlight the importance of Makar Sankranti:

Transition of Seasons and Harvest Festival

Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn, signaling the onset of longer days and the gradual shift from winter to spring. It is also considered a harvest festival, celebrating the bountiful harvests and expressing gratitude to nature’s abundance.

Reverence to the Sun God

The festival of Makar Sankranti is dedicated to the worship of Lord Surya (the Sun God). Devotees offer prayers to Lord Surya, expressing gratitude for the vital life-giving energy, warmth, and light that sustains all living beings on Earth.

Cultural Unity and Social Harmony

Makar Sankranti brings people together, transcending regional, cultural, and social boundaries. It is a time when people engage in community activities, visit each other’s homes, exchange greetings, and strengthen social bonds. The festival promotes unity, harmony, and a sense of belonging among diverse communities.

Festivities akin to Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti, a festival celebrated in various parts of India, is known by different names and observed in unique ways in different regions. While the core essence of celebrating the transition of seasons remains the same, here are some festivities akin to Makar Sankranti that are celebrated in different parts of the country:

  1. Pongal/Makar Sankranti (South India): In Tamil Nadu and other southern states, the festival is known as Pongal. It is a four-day harvest festival celebrated with great enthusiasm. People prepare a dish called Pongal, made of newly harvested rice, and offer it to the Sun God. Traditional decorations, cattle races, and cultural performances are also a part of the festivities.
  2. Lohri (Punjab): Lohri is a popular festival celebrated in Punjab and other northern regions of India. It marks the end of winter and the onset of longer days. Bonfires are lit, and people gather around to sing folk songs, perform traditional dances, and enjoy special delicacies like rewari and popcorn. The festival holds special significance for newlyweds and newborns.
  3. Bihu (Assam): Bihu is a major festival celebrated in Assam, marking the arrival of spring and the agricultural season. It is a week-long festival that includes various cultural activities, folk dances, and music performances. People dress in traditional attire, exchange gifts, and enjoy feasts prepared with fresh produce.
  4. Uttarayan (Gujarat): In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti is celebrated with the festival of Uttarayan. The skies come alive with colorful kites as people engage in kite-flying competitions. The festival brings communities together, and the air is filled with joy, music, and delicious food. Undhiyu and jalebi are popular dishes associated with Uttarayan.
  5. Magh Bihu (Assam): Magh Bihu, also known as Bhogali Bihu, is a harvest festival celebrated in Assam. It involves community feasts, bonfires, and traditional games and sports. People exchange homemade sweets and delicacies and participate in cultural programs showcasing Assamese music and dance.


1. What is the significance of Makar Sankranti?

Makar Sankranti holds cultural and religious significance as it marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn. It signifies the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of longer days. The festival is also associated with harvest celebrations, expressing gratitude to nature’s bounty and celebrating new beginnings.

2. How is Makar Sankranti celebrated?

Makar Sankranti is celebrated with various customs and traditions. People take holy dips in rivers, offer prayers to the Sun God, fly kites, exchange sweets, and prepare traditional delicacies. Community gatherings, cultural programs, and feasts are also part of the celebrations.

3. Are there any regional variations in celebrating Makar Sankranti?

Yes, Makar Sankranti is celebrated with regional variations across India. In different states, the festival is known by different names such as Pongal, Lohri, Bihu, Uttarayan, and Magh Bihu. Each region has its unique customs, rituals, and traditional dishes associated with the festival.

4. What are some traditional dishes prepared during Makar Sankranti?

Some traditional dishes prepared during Makar Sankranti include til-gur (sesame and jaggery sweets), gajak (sesame brittle), chikki (peanut brittle), khichdi (a savory dish made with rice and lentils), and various regional specialties. These dishes are shared with family, friends, and neighbors as a symbol of love and goodwill.

6. Are there any specific rituals associated with Makar Sankranti in different regions?

Yes, there are specific rituals associated with Makar Sankranti in different regions. For example, in South India, people draw rangolis, make decorative designs with rice flour, and perform a special puja dedicated to the Sun God. In Punjab, bonfires are lit, and people sing and dance around them. In Assam, Bihu dance performances and community feasts are a significant part of the celebrations.

7. Is Makar Sankranti a public holiday in India?

Makar Sankranti is not a nationwide public holiday in India. However, it is widely celebrated, and in some states, there may be regional holidays or limited official observances.

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