This year, Makar Sankranti is officially observed on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
While Makar Sankranti is usually celebrated on January 14, this year reflects a change in the planetary configuration of the Sun on which the Hindu calendar is based, moving the festivities up a day.
However, depending on where you live in India, the old tradition still survives with celebrations on January 14. And, due to India's size and wide cultural diversity the festival might also go by different names (see DID YOU KNOW? Makar Sankranti fun facts, below.)
No matter what it's called, or when it is observed, the sentiment is the same -- in new beginnings and renewed hopes for better times ahead celebrated all over India in January.
It's a new day - go fly a kite!
While there are important religious aspects behind the celebration, in more practical terms Makar Sankranti is most famous as the day to go kite flying, sending hopes and aspirations skyward.
the festival, many people ceremonially bathe in rivers, with celebrations featuring thousands of
colorful prayers offered to the Lord Sun in the form of beautiful kites.
One of the more impressive celebrations is centered on the International Kite Festival in Ahmedabad - a four-day event which is perfectly timed to culminate on Makar Sankranti.
Sankranti is also known as Khichadi,
the name of the traditional Indian dish made from rice and lentils eaten
during the festival, and in Maharashtra, colorful tilguds
made from sesame seeds (til) and sugar.
In fact, the sesame
is such a favorite food of the Sun God at this time of year
that the feast is sometimes called Til Sankranti. Sesame dishes
Laddoos, and Til-Polis
are eagerly devoured, and til oil is used for massages during
As in Spring festivals in many parts of the world, Makar Sankranti is a time of rebirth and renewal.
DID YOU KNOW? Makar Sankranti fun facts
• In India, there are total of twelve Sankranti throughout the year, but "Makar Sankranti" is the most widely observed and celebrated all over India. On the Hindu calendar, a sankranti marks the transition of the sun from one phase to the next.
• Makar Sankranti goes by different names in different areas of the country. In Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, it is named Maghi. In the state of Gujarat, it is known as Uttarayan. In Tamil Nadu, it's called Pongal.
• For the first time in 100 years, in 2019 and 2020 the observance of Makar Sankranti changed from January 14 to January 15 reflecting planetary configuration changes to the sun on which the Hindu calendar is based.
More about Makar Sankranti around the Web:
Sankranti - Here's a nice overview courtesy of Wikipedia with information on different customs and celebrations, with photos and related resources.
Makar Sankranti e-Cards - Find kites, kites and more kites, plus other design selections to send along with your wishes for a Happy Makar Sankranti!