Makar Sankranti is a Hindu festival celebrated on 14th January every year. Makar (capricorn) is a Hindu zodiac sign and Sankranti means to change direction. According to Hindu calendar, Makar sankranti occurs when sun changes its direction northwards from Dhanu Rashi (Sagittarius) to enter the Makar Rashi (Capricorn) in the month of Poush. Makar Sankranti is considered very auspicious day and it is believed any sacred ritual or task can be started or performed on this day and it will be fruitful .It marks the beginning of harvesting season and end of chilly winter season.
Makarsankranti in North India
This festival is celebrated enthusiastically in all parts of India. In north India people take holy bath in Ganges donate rice and dal(lentil) they also prepare Khichdi (a rice dish) .The famous Magh mela commences on this day on the bank of Triveni Sangam in Allahabad.
Makarsankranti in Maharashtra
In Maharashtra Makar Sankranti has special significance. The first harvest of sugarcane is celebrated on this day. People wear new clothes, prepare and exchange sweets called Til Ladoo made with sesame seeds and jaggery - using the recent harvest of sugarcane.
Makarsankranti in Gujarat
Makar Sankranti in Gujarat is known as Uttarayan. On this day people visit their relatives and exchange gifts with them. The tradition of kite flying is also followed on this day. The sky looks colorful with thousand of kites flying in it. The international festival of kite flying is also held on this day each year.
Makarsankranti in Andhra Pradesh
In Andhra Pradesh it is called as 'Pedda Panduga' and celebrated till 3 days. People prepare rangolies and a special rice dish called Pongal.This dish is first offered to the Goddess Sankranti Lakshmi and then consumed by people
Makarsankranti in Karnataka
In Karnataka people wear new clothes, visit their relatives and exchange their first harvest of sugarcane. They also prepare and exchange a special blend of Sugarcane, sesame seeds, dry coconut, fried grams and peanuts, honor their animals by giving them a grand bath and feeding them Pongal (a rice dish), make picturesque rangolies.
Though Sankranti has various names ,but it is celebrated with great joy and vivacity in each and every part of India.