Makar Sankranti falls in mid-January, marking the end of the harsh winter season and the beginning of the harvest season. This year the harvest festival falls on 15th January but may be celebrated on 14th January in some regions. Makar Sankranti is one of the few Indian festivals that is observed according to solar cycles. Most festivals fall according to the Hindu calendar.

To mark the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti on 14th January, banks will be closed in Ahmedabad and the rest of Gujarat. In several other cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Guwahati and Hyderabad where Uttarayana Punyakaala Makara Sankranti Festival, Pongal, Magh Bihu and Tusu Puja will be celebrated on 15th January, banks will remain closed.

Makar Sankranti celebrations:

Makar Sankranti is celebrated across India by different names. It is known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Maaghi in Punjab, Bhogali Bihu in Assam and Uttarayan in Gujarat. It is one of the most auspicious days of the Hindu calendar and indicates the first day of the sun’s transition into Capricorn.

In Uttar Pradesh and parts of Bihar, Makar Sankranti is also known as ‘Khichdi’ after the one-pot meal that is offered to the sun god. On Makar Sankranti in north India, khichdi made with rice, urad dal and a colourful medley of winter vegetables, is flavoured with warm aromatic spices and pure ghee.

In most parts of India, til, or sesame seeds, are crucial to Makar Sankranti rituals. Kite-flying is an important part of the day on Makar Sankranti. On this day, devotees take a holy dip in rivers, especially Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri. The bathing is believed to result in merit or absolution of past sins. They also pray to the sun for success and prosperity.