Makar Sankranti marks the transit of the Sun from the Southern Hemisphere to the north as the days get longer than the nights. This year, Makar Sankranti will be celebrated on January 15. According to drikpanchang.com, Makar Sankranti Punya Kala is from 7:15 am to 5:46 pm. Every state in India has its unique way of celebrating the festival. Makar Sankranti, a pan-Indian solar festival, is known by different names though observed on the same date. It is known as Pedda Panduga in Andhra Pradesh, Makar Sankranti in Karnataka, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Magh Bihu in Assam, Magha Mela in parts of central and north India. A day before Makar Sankranti is Lohri, the Punjabi harvest festival.
According to the Hindu calendar, Makar Sankranti is also celebrated as the harvest festival and marks the arrival of spring. The day is synonymous to kite flying too. People across India are seen on their roof tops and sky fills up with colourful kites.
Makar Sankranti also marks the beginning of a six months auspicious period for Hindus known as Uttarayana period. Every twelve years, the Hindus observe Makar Sankranti with one of the world's largest mass pilgrimages and pray to the sun god and bathe in the holy rivers at the Kumbh Mela.
For most parts of India, this period is a part of early stages of the Rabi crop and agricultural cycle, where crops have been sown and the hard work in the fields is mostly over. Makar Sankranti signifies a period of socializing and family get-together, taking care of the cattle, celebrating around bonfires and flying kites.