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 by the Hindus with a lot of pomp and galore.

Makara Sankranti 2018 was on January 14 Sunday

The Astronomy behind Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is symbolic of the change of planetary houses that the Sun makes by shifting from Saggitarius to 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'.

When is Makar Sankranti celebrated?

Makar Sankranti is celebrated in the Hindu calendar month of Magha and falls on the 14th of January every year.

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.

Rituals of Makar Sankranti

Different rituals are practiced in different states of India. Some of the key rituals being

  • 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 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 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 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 is 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.
  • Among the tribals of Orissa, Makar Sankranti signifies the New Year which is welcomed by cooking local food and sharing it among friends and families.

Important Timings On Makara Sankranti

Sunrise14-Jan-2018 07:14 AM
Sunset14-Jan-2018 17:57 PM
Punya Kaal Muhurta 13:50 PM - 17:57 PM
Maha Punya Kaal Muhurta 13:50 PM - 14:14 PM
Sankranti Moment14-Jan-2018 13:50 PM
Place : Ujjain [ India ] Time Zone : IST (+05:30)

Makara Sankranti festival dates between 2015 & 2025

YearDate
2015Thursday, 15th of January
2016Friday, 15th of January
2017Saturday, 14th of January
2018Sunday, 14th of January
2019Tuesday, 15th of January
2020Wednesday, 15th of January
2021Thursday, 14th of January
2022Friday, 14th of January
2023Sunday, 15th of January
2024Monday, 15th of January
2025Tuesday, 14th of January

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