Makar Sankranti 2021 (Photo Credit: ANI)
According to the hindu calendar, Makar sankranti is celebrated in the month of Magh. This symbolises the end of winter solace where day lasts longer than the night. Each sankranti is marked as the beginning of a month in the sidereal solar calendars followed in Andhra pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, kerela, Odisha, Punjab amd Gujarat. On the other hand, in sidereal solar Bengali calendar and Assamese calendar, Sankranti is marked as the end of each month and the day following as the beginning of a new month.
The festivities associated with Makar Sankranti are known by various names, such as Magha Sankranti in Nepal, Magh Bihu in Assam, Maghi (preceded by Lohri) in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, popular amongst both the Hindus and Sikhs, Sukarat in central India, Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Ghughuti in Uttarakhand Makara Sankranti in Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal (also called Poush Sankranti) and Uttar Pradesh (also called Khichidi Sankranti) or as Sankranthi in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
On Makar Sankranti 2021, devotees thank God Sun for blessing their harvest. Many take a holy dip in holy rivers of Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery as it is believed that taking a dip in these rivers washes away all the sins.
Makar Sankranti is also known as Uttarayan, the beginning of an auspicious period. Uttarayan is considered to be a period of new beginning. Uttarayaá¹‡ is derived from two Sanskrit words 'uttara' or north and 'ayana' or movement, indicating a northward movement of the Sun.
In Mahabharata, Bheeshma Pitamaha chose the day of Uttarayan to die. It is on this day Bheeshma got a special boon of Ichha Mrityu or death (Wish death) and he waited on his death bed of arrows until Uttarayan.