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Makar Sankranti is known by another popular word Uttarayan in Gujarat in India. It marks the first day of a transit of the Sun into Makara.
It is important harvest festival in north India. It is a time of joy for the farmers as the Rabi crop is harvested this time. It signifies having a financially sound year ahead.
Though all the Hindu festivals are celebrated as per Hindu calendar, Sankranti is the only festival celebrated on the fixed date of 14 January according to the Gregorian Calendar.
Makar Sankranti is all about devotion towards the Lord Surya. People consider it as a very holy occasion and to show their devotion, they bathe in the holy rivers.
The fest is the starting day of the very popular Kumbha Mela that comes once every 3 years. People take bath “Maha Kumbh Snan” in Ganga to express their gratitude towards the god.
It signifies the start of summer and end to cold days. It marks the joyous times when the weather gets pleasant and people come out of their houses to soak the sunlight.
It is a tradition of kite flying on Makar Sankranti in Rajasthan and Gujarat. There is sky full of just kites and people literally go crazy for the entire day.
Sweets like Jaggery and Til Laddoos makes Makar Sankranti different from all. Jaggery and Til are considered good for health and to keep yourself warm in winters.
Makar Sankranti is also celebrated outside India in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with names Tirmoori, Maghe Sankranti, Shakrain and Thai Pongal respectively.