India is one of the very few countries in the world that celebrate harvest festivals also with equal enthusiasm and zest like any other festival. One such festival is Makar Sankranti, primarily celebrated in north India. The festival officially marks the beginning of spring or the onset of Indian summer and the days become longer, and nights shorter.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most popular Hindu festivals, and also the first festival of the New Year. The festival is known with different names in different parts of the country. It is celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Lohri in Punjab, Uttarayan in Gujrat, Bhogali Bihu in Assam and Poush Sankranti in West Bengal. The festival marks the first day when the sun enters into the zodiac sign of Capricorn (known as ‘Makar Rashi’ in Hindi), and the start of longer days.
The word ‘ Sankranti’ signifies the transit of sun from one zodiac sign into another. People believe that On this day, the son of Ganga son and Kauravas-Pandavas, Bhishma Pitamah had sacrificed his body.
On this auspicious day, thousands of devotees jostle to take a dip in the holy water at Ganga Sagar, also known as ‘Sagardwip’.
It is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country with great zeal and vigour. Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of the holy phase when the sacred rituals can be performed. The festival is also about letting go what all happened in the previous year and embracing the new phase with positivity and wisdom.
This year, there has been some confusion in the festival of Makar Sankranti. Some scholars believe that Makar Sankranti is falling between the dates of 14-15 January. But its auspicious start will take place on the evening of January 14 at 7:53 pm and its closing will be on Tuesday, January 15 at 6:15 pm. This time the bath, donation, the good Bella of virtue has been told. When the sun enters from one amount to another, then there is a festival of Makar Sankranti on that day.