About Sankranti: A Celebration Of The Sun!

Sankranti in one line means the transmigration of our Sun from one Rashi to the another. Rashi in Indian astronomy means the constellation of Zodiac. There are in total 12 Sankranti, one for each month, every year.

Sankranti festival
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You can check my recent article on importance of dussehra and places to visit during Dasara.

In case of a sidereal solar calendar which is followed in places like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Odisha, Nepal and Gujarat. In such a calendar the Sankranti is celebrated or rather marked as the beginning of a new month.

In case of a sidereal solar Bengali Calendar, which is followed in places like West Bengal, the Sankranti is marked as the end of a month and the next day is said to be the beginning of a new month.

Sankranti Festival

There are 5 different types of Sankranti Festivals.

  • Makar Sankranti: This marks the beginning of the six month Uttarayana period. This Sankranti also celebrates the transition of the sun god into the Makara Rashi. 
  • Mesha Sankranti: It marks the starting of the Hindu new year according to the Hindu Calendar. On this Sankranti, the Sun enters the Aries or Mesha. 
  • Mithuna Sankranti: It is celebrated as the yearly menstruating phase of our Mother Earth. It is mainly celebrated in Eastern and North Eastern India. 
  • Dhanu Sankranti: It is celebrated as the first day of the solar Pausha month. 
  • Karka Sankranti: It is celebrated as the transition of the Sun god into the Karka Rashi or Cancer. This Sankranti also marks the end of the six month Uttarayana period.

Makar Sankranti: a brief description

Makar Sankranti is celebrated as the first day of a new calendar, according to the Hindu Calendar. It is celebrated every year in January which marks the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of longer days. It celebrates the fact that the deity Surya or the sun transiting into the Capricorn or the Makara as the name suggests. It is celebrated according to the solar cycles.

Makar Sankranti Rangoli

Sankranti Rangoli

Rangoli is a form of art which is made on the ground at certain locations and is made by using coloured rice, coloured sand, flowers or dry flour. They are usually accompanied by diyas or lamp with a fire burning. Like every other Hindu festival, during Makar Sankranti or any other Sankranti for that matter, to decorate the house a Rangoli is made at the entrance to welcome the guests and the deity. There are many unique designs which are made.

Importance of Makar Sankranti 

The festival of Makar Sankranti is dedicated to the Hindu god Surya or the Sun. The importance of the festival can be traced back the Vedic texts like the Gayatri Mantra, a sacred hymn which can be found in the Rigveda, a holy book of the Hindus. This festival marks the beginning of the Uttarayana period which lasts for six months and is considered to be a very auspicious period.

Makar Sankranti is a very important and spiritual festival. People who follow this festival takes a dip in the holy rivers of the Indian Subcontinent. The rivers like Ganga, Godavari, Kaveri Krishna and Yamuna. This bathing has a spiritual meaning. It is said that once one takes a bath in these rivers during the period of Makar Sankranti their past sins are all washed off in that river and they rise as a new person. The people also pray to the sun god or the Surya and thank for their success and their family's prosperity. The people also make sweets to distribute among their loved ones as a celebration of the festival. It signifies the coming together of the families and sharing of love and success. People socialize and enjoy the company of friends and families as they sit together without worrying about their troubles and enjoy the time that they are together and at the same time they fly kites too!

Makar Sankranti has many different names in different places where it is celebrated, but the rules of the festival and the date remains the same throughout

List of Sankranti names in different cities! 

Makar Sankranti is celebrated in almost every part of the Indian Subcontinent, but due to the language differences that exist in India, it is called by different names in different places, although the rest of the festival remains the same.

For the states in India:

1. Suggi Habba, Makara Sankramana, Makara Sankranthi : Karnataka
2. Makara Sankranthi: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana
3. Makar Sankranti: Chattisgarh, Goa, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Jammu
4. Thai Pongal, Uzhavar Thirunal: Tamil Nadu
5. Uttarayan: Gujarat
6. Maghi: Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
7. Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu: Assam
8. Shishur Saenkraat: Kashmir Valley[21]
9. Khichdi: Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar
10. Poush Sangkranti: West Bengal
11. Tila Sakrait: Mithila

For the countries of the Indian Subcontinent: 

1. Nepal: Maghe Sankranti or Maghi- /Khichdi Sankranti
2. Bangladesh: Shakrain/ Poush Sangkranti
3. Pakistan (Sindh): Tirmoori


Like the many other Indian Festivals, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as the coming together of family and friends which is accompanied with sweets and good food. It is known by different names in different places but heart of the festival remains the same. People pray to the Sun in the morning and come together and celebrate the rest of the day!

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