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Makar Sankranti: The Unified Celebration of Harvest and Spring Across Bharat

Ever wonder why January marks the beginning of festivities across India? From Lohri in Punjab and Pongal in Tamil Nadu to Uttarayan in Gujarat and Makar Sankranti all over, the second week of January brings with it several harvest festivals. Though celebrated differently in each region with distinct rituals, food, and names, it signifies the same thing – the arrival of longer days, the beginning of the harvest season, and the triumph of light over darkness.

1- Makar Sankranti 2024: History and Significance of the Harvest Festival

Makar Sankranti
image courtesy: herZindagi

Makar Sankranti marks the first day of the sun’s transit into the Makara rashi (Capricorn), which usually falls on January 14th. This auspicious festival celebrates the harvest and is one of the few pan-Indian festivals celebrated with great pomp across Bharat.

a- Diverse Names, Unified Spirit

Known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Uttarayan in Gujarat, and Lohri in Punjab, this auspicious festival signifies the arrival of longer days after winter solstice. Though celebrated differently across India, the underlying theme of new beginnings and hope remains the same.

b- Reasons for Celebration

This auspicious festival commemorates the end of winter and the start of Uttarayan – the northward journey of the sun. It also marks the harvesting season, so people worship the sun and express gratitude for a successful harvest. Kite flying is an important part of the festivities, signifying reaching new heights and the freedom of thoughts and spirit.

c- Traditional Celebrations

Bonfires, kite flying, sharing sweets, and donating to charity are common ways of celebrating Makar Sankranti. People take a holy dip in rivers, especially Ganga Sagar. In Gujarat, people fly kites and compete in kite fighting battles. Pongal in TN and Sankranti in AP are associated with colorful rangolis, traditional dances, and feasts. This auspicious festival brings people together, strengthening the social fabric of the country.

2- Diverse Names, Unified Spirit: Regional Celebrations of Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is celebrated across India with diverse names but a unified spirit of peace, thankfulness, and community.

1- In Tamil Nadu, it’s Pongal – a four-day harvest festival. People decorate their homes with kolams, colorful rice flour designs, and offer prayers to the sun god. Sweet pongal, a rice and lentil dish, is cooked in new pots and shared with loved ones.

image courtesy: the times of India

2- In Gujarat it is Uttarayana. Gujarat flies the highest kites to celebrate Uttarayan. Friends and families gather on rooftops and open fields competing to cut each other’s kite strings. Undhiyu, a mixed vegetable dish, is cooked and savored together.

3- In Punjab it is Lohri. Lohri is a time for bonfires, folk songs, and dances. People distribute prasad (religious offerings) of til (sesame seeds), gur (jaggery), and popcorn.

lohri 2024

4- In Karnataka it is Suggi Habba. Suggi Habba involves exchanging sesame and jaggery sweets, donating to charities, and visiting friends and family.

image courtesy: the times of India

Whether calling it Pongal, Lohri, Uttarayan or Suggi Habba, Makar Sankranti is a testament to India’s “unity in diversity”. Amidst a mosaic of cultural traditions, this harvest festival is a shared experience of community, gratitude, and joy across the nation.

3- Makar Sankranti Celebrations in 2024: Kite Flying, Feasts, and Family Gatherings

This auspicious festival is one of the few Hindu festivals celebrated with equal enthusiasm across India. It marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn), indicating the end of winter and the start of longer days. This astronomical event has been celebrated for over 2,000 years.

a- Makar Sankranti 2024

Every year Makar Sankranti is celebrated on January 14. But in 2024, the shubh muhurat to celebrate this festival will be starting at 2:45 AM on January 15, as per the Drik Panchang. The celebration of this auspicious festival is observed a day after the Lohri, which this year will be on January 15.

b- How People Celebrate it?

Millions will gather with friends and family to fly colorful kites, exchange homemade sweets, and enjoy lavish meals. In Gujarat, the International Kite Festival will feature expert kite flyers and massive kite battles. Pongal, a 4-day harvest festival, is celebrated in Tamil Nadu with rice boiling, feasts, and bull races. Punjab honors a winter wheat harvest with Lohri bonfires, dancing, and popcorn.

Though called by different names and marked with distinct traditions across the diverse states of India, this auspicious festival represents a shared spirit of new beginnings, prosperity, and unity. After the solstice, the sun begins its ascent, lengthening days and ushering in warmer weather. People come together to express gratitude for the harvest and optimism for the future.

Despite India’s cultural diversity, festivals like Makar Sankranti bind its people together. They reflect the timeless values of community, gratitude, and optimism in the face of an ever-changing world.


Celebrating Makar Sankranti is a unifying festival across India, even with its diverse names and traditions in each state.

1- Is Lohri and Makar Sankranti the same?

Lohri is a Punjabi festival celebrated the night before Makar Sankranti to mark the end of winter, whereas Makar Sankranti signifies the start of longer days. Although both festivals are slightly different in their form and significance yet the overall meaning is moreover same. They both are celebrated to welcome spring.

2- Is Pongal and Makar Sankranti the same?

Yes Pongal and Makar Sankranti are the two names of same festival. Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, whereas Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India. Pongal coincides with Makar Sankranti and celebrates the same theme of the winter solstice and harvest.

3- When do we fly kites in Bharat?

Makar Sankranti is popular for the traditional kite flying festival. People fly colorful kites to symbolize reaching new heights and the triumph of light over darkness.

4- How do they celebrate the kite flying festival in Gujarat?

In Gujarat, the kite flying festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm. People gather on terraces and rooftops and engage in kite flying competitions. The aim is to cut each other’s kite strings and ground the kites.

5- Which state celebrates Pongal?

Pongal is mainly celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It marks the harvest festival and pays respect to nature, especially the sun and cattle. People decorate their homes, dress in new clothes and cook Pongal, a sweet dish of rice and lentils.

Makar Sankranti signifies new beginnings, optimism and joy. Though celebrated differently across India, the underlying spirit of this festivals remains the same – giving thanks for nature’s bounty and looking forward to a bright future.

Read more about world’s greatest festivals: https://cityfurnish.com/blog/top-10-festivals-in-the-world

Take Away

So there you have it – a fascinating glimpse into the diverse yet unified celebrations of Makar Sankranti across Bharat. Though called by many names and marked with distinct regional traditions, the spirit of new beginnings, gratitude for harvest, and community remains the same. As you fly kites, dance around bonfires, decorate your homes, or simply sit down for a meal with loved ones, take a moment to appreciate the underlying unity amidst the diversity. Our cultures may differ, but we all look to the same sun, the same harvest, and the same eternal renewal of spirit. This Makar Sankranti, embrace the shared heartbeat of Bharat.


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