The festival marks the dawn of the spring season and dusk of the long, chilly winter season. It falls in mid-jan as the sun moves into the ‘Makar Rashi’ which is why it is termed Makar Sankranti, as the term Makar means Capricorn. The auspicious festival is a celebration of the changing of the season and honouring Surya (the Sun God) for showering his blessing in the form of life and food on the earth. The farming community celebrates it as the most prominent harvest festival following Pongal in the South and Lohri in North India along with others.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said “There are twelve Sankranthi in a year. These are twelve days when the sun moves from one constellation to another. From Makar Sankranti, the sun starts moving towards the north direction which is also known as Uttarayana. The Uttarayana is regarded as the period of Divinity. Although the entire year is considered auspicious, this period is considered slightly more auspicious”. The supreme commander of the Kaurava in the Mahabharata tells the tale of Bhishma where he awaits the Uttarayana to welcome his death.
There is a Hindu legend behind the naming of the festival and is believed in many regions across the nation. As there once was a Deity named Sankranti who slayed the Demon or asur called Sankarasur and Kinkarasur in the gap of two days. This is why it is also called the Kinkrant and Karidin the day following Makar Sankranti in many parts of the country. The festival brings joy and prosperity, on this day the devotees bathe in holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri. The ablution washes the sins of the devotees along with several rituals followed with it.
Different states have their unique ways of celebrating the festival, in Bihar, every year in Rajgir Makar Sankranti mela is held where devotees can take a dip in the Braham Kund. The utmost crucial yet the most famous part of Makar Sankranti in Bihar is to start your day with Dahi (yogurt) and choora (flattened rice) with gudd or gurr (jaggery). One can also see a healthy competition of kites flying against each other in the sky marking the symbol of happiness and love among everyone.