Makar Sankranti

Makar(a) Sankranti is the only Hindu festival based on the solar calendar instead of the lunar. Makar Sankranti is the celebration of the sun's journey from the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere and is considered an auspicious time. Makar translates as 'Capricorn' and Sankranti means 'transition'. The astrological configuration on Makar Sankranti is called 'Maha-snana-yoga.' Some observers celebrate by bathing in rivers and lakes, especially at the confluence of holy rivers. Makar Sankranti is also a harvest festival. It is a time of celebration and expressing thanks to Mother Earth or nature when winter starts to recede. 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.