Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti falls on January 14 and in leap-years on January 15. It is the only Hindu festival that is based on the solar calendar instead of the lunar.   Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti means transition. Makara Sankranti is the celebration of the sun's journey from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere, and it is accepted as a special or auspicious time.  The astrological configuration on Makara Sankranti is called “Maha-snana-yoga,”  the day for taking a special holy bath, especially at the confluence of holy rivers, and it is a highly auspicious time when the gates to the heavenly region are considered to be open, thus allowing the soul easy access to the celestial worlds. Makar Sankranti is also celebrated as a harvest festival. It is a way of expressing thanks to Mother Earth or nature at this time when winter starts to recede, gradually developing into spring and summer. The festival is especially for the spreading of good will, peace and prosperity. People give each other presents, especially til, the traditional sweets made with sesame. It is also celebrated with a feast that includes a dish made of green gram, rice and jaggery.