Makar Sankranti 2021 Date: Celebrated with much zeal and enthusiasm by the people of India and Nepal, Makara Sankranti or Maghi is one of the most popular Hindu festivals. Observed each year in the lunar month of Magha, which corresponds with the month of January as per the Gregorian calendar, it almost always falls on the same date every year (January 14 or 15), except in some years when the date shifts by a day.
This year, it will be celebrated on January 14, with the Makara Sankranti Punya Kala from 08:30 am to 05:46 pm, and Makara Sankranti Maha Punya Kala from 08:30 am to 10:15 am, according to drikpanchang.com.
Dedicated to the Surya deity (Sun) to convey gratitude to nature for its resources, Sankranti denotes the sun’s transit into zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn), which marks the end of the winter solstice and the onset of longer days. The significance of Surya can be traced back to the Vedic texts, especially the Gayatri Mantra – a sacred hymn of Hinduism found in the scripture named Rigveda.
According to legends, it is believed that Sankranti–after whom the festival is named–was a deity, who killed a demon called Sankarasur. In India, it is considered to be a date that marks the sun’s transition towards North from the Southern hemisphere. The Hindus believe this period to be the ‘uttaarayan’ or the period of auspiciousness. According to the Mahabharata, Bhishma Pitamah had waited for the sun to be in uttarayan to embrace death.
On this auspicious day, people indulge in spiritual practices like taking a holy dip in sacred rivers, especially Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Krishna. It is believed that this practice will result in the ablution of their past sins. They also pray to the sun to thank him for their success and prosperity.
Apart from the spiritual aspect of this day, Makara Sankranti is observed with social festivities such as colourful decorations, dances, kite flying, bonfires and most importantly, making sticky sweets particularly from jaggery (gur) and sesame (til). This custom of making sweets symbolises peace, joyfulness, harmony and coming together of people, despite their uniqueness and differences.