• Post category:Festivals / Planets
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Makar Sankranti, also known as Uttarayan, is a vibrant and joyous festival celebrated in various parts of India to mark the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makar). The festival usually falls on January 14th or 15th, depending on the Hindu calendar, and is not only a time for revelry but also holds profound cultural and religious significance. The story behind Makar Sankranti is steeped in mythology, folklore, and agricultural traditions that have been passed down through generations.

story of makar sankranti in english

Historical Story of Makar Sankranti

One of the most popular legends associated with Makar Sankranti is the story of Bhishma Pitamah from the epic Mahabharata. According to the legend, Bhishma chose to end his life during the auspicious period of Uttarayan, as it is believed that those who die during this time attain salvation and break free from the cycle of birth and death. This story symbolizes the importance of embracing the divine and spiritual aspects of life during this celestial transition.

Story of Makar Sankranti based in Hinduism

Another significant aspect of Makar Sankranti is the worship of the Sun God, Surya. Hindu mythology narrates the tale of how the Sun God visits his son, Shani (Saturn), during this period. Despite their differences and strained relationship, Surya forgives Shani and warmly embraces him during their encounter. This story is a metaphor for the sun’s entry into Capricorn, signifying the end of the cold winter months and the beginning of longer, warmer days.

Agrarian Celebrations

Makar Sankranti is also closely tied to agricultural practices and the harvest season. The festival heralds the onset of longer days and the gradual increase in sunlight, crucial for the growth of crops. Farmers express gratitude for the bountiful harvest and pray for a prosperous agricultural year ahead. In many regions, kite flying is a popular tradition during Makar Sankranti, symbolizing the desire to reach new heights and overcome obstacles, much like the sun’s journey into the northern hemisphere.

Regional Variations

The celebration of Makar Sankranti takes on diverse regional flavors across India. In the state of Gujarat, it transforms into the grand festival of Uttarayan, marked by colorful kites filling the sky. In South India, the festival is known as Pongal, where people prepare a special dish of newly harvested rice and express gratitude to the Sun God. In Maharashtra, it is celebrated as Makar Sankrant or Tilgul, with the exchange of sesame and jaggery sweets.

Makar Sankranti is a celebration that seamlessly weaves together spirituality, mythology, and agricultural traditions. It symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, warmth over cold, and signifies the renewal of life. As people come together to partake in rituals, share festive meals, and engage in joyous activities, Makar Sankranti becomes a vibrant tapestry that reflects the rich cultural diversity of India and the shared reverence for the sun’s transformative journey across the sky.