Sankranthi marks the transition of the Sun into Makara rasi (Capricorn) on its celestial path. Traditionally, this has been one of many harvest days in India. Owing to the vast geography and diversity of culture in India, this festival is celebrated for innumerable reasons and in innumerable ways depending on the climate, agricultural environment, cultural background and location. On this day children fly kites.

Sankranthi is the Sanskrit word in Hindu Astrology which refers to the transmigration of the Sun from one Rasi (sign of the zodiac) to another. Hence there are 12 such sankrantis in all. However, the Sankranthi festival usually refers to Makara Sankaranti or the transition of the Sun from Dhanu rasi (Sagittarius) to Makara rasi (Capricorn). Makara Sankranthi is celebrated in the Hindu calendar month of Magha.

Makar Sankranthi is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. According to the lunar calendar, when the sun moves from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Pausha in mid-January, it commemorates the beginning of the harvest season and cessation of the northeast monsoon in South India. The movement of the Sun from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn zodiac known as Makar in Hindi, this occasion is named as Makar Sankranthi in the Indian context. It is one of the few Hindu Indian festivals which are celebrated on a fixed date i.e. 14 January every year (or may be sometimes on 15 January (leap year)).


All over the country, Makar Sankranti is observed with great fanfare. However, it is celebrated with distinct names and rituals in different parts of the country. In the states of northern and western India, the festival is celebrated as the Sankranti day with special zeal and fervor. The importance of this day has been signified in the ancient epics like Mahabharatha also. So, apart from socio-geographical importance, this day also holds a historical and religious significance. As it is the festival of Sun God and he is regarded as the symbol divinity and wisdom, the festival also holds an eternal meaning to it.


It is also customary to do Bommala Koluvu during these festivities in the state of Andhra Pradesh (Telugu speaking). A day before the Makara Sankranthi, people in villages start their day with bon fires celebrating the shift in seasons. Little kids bring garlands made with cow dung patties and burn in the bon fire asking for longevity and fulfillment of their wishes to the fire God. Later the kids will be given with a Bhogi Pallu (a special mixture of gooseberries, rice, coins) shower and aarthi for better health and prosperity. On the next day of Makara Sankranthi, Kanuma Day is observed where all farmer equipment and farm animals are decorated and prayed for better crops. On the same day all Shiva temples celebrate a special Oorerigimpu (a procession of God through the village) on special vahana (vehicle or transpad) called prabhalu.

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