One of the major Hindu festivals, Makar Sankranti is celebrated all across the country with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. The festival is majorly celebrated by Indians and Hindus around the world. The festival is a religious celebration as well as a seasonal observance that marks the winter solstice. This day is a major harvest festival and is dedicated to the sun god. Usually, the festival is celebrated a day after Lohri on January 14, but in some exceptions, it takes place of January 15. This year, Makar Sankranti falls on January 15.
Uttarayan, Maghi, Khichdi are some other names of the same festival. On this day, the sun begins its northward journey. The harvest festival is celebrated throughout India, although under different names and traditions.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in many parts of South Asia with some regional variations. By north Indian Hindus and Sikhs, it is called Maghi and is preceded by Lohri. It is called Makara Sankranti and also Poush songkranti in Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Telangana, Sukarat in central India, Magh Bihu by Assamese, and Thai Pongal or Pongal by Tamils. In Gujarat, kite flying is organized as part of Makar Sankranti festivities.
On this day, devotees take a holy dip in rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery. They believe this washes away their sins, it is also considered a time of peace and prosperity and many spiritual practices are conducted on this day. Sesame and jaggery ladoos or chikkis are distributed on this day. Popularly referred to as til-gud, the sweet signifies that people must stay together in peace and harmony despite their differences.