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Makar Sankranti falls on January 14 every year, with an exception of falling on January 15 at times. The festival is widely celebrated in the country and is also known by different names in different regions. While many call it Makar Sankranti, in south India it is known as Pongal and in some parts of the country like Bihar, it is called Khichdi. In Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, it is called Maghi. Different names, however, the rituals are similar. Also Read - Rajasthan Cultural Body Objects to Mention of Jayasi's 'Padmavat' in Class 10 School Textbook

The prime reason people celebrate Makar Sankranti is to thank the sun god. It is the day when the sun heads northwards towards the Tropic of Cancer and on the day of the festival, the night and day time become equal. Makar Sankranti is also to welcome warmer days as it marks the end of winter solstice. It is also the first day of the new month of Magha and people wake up early to soak in the sun rays as these are full of Vitamin D. While in Gujarat people also call it Uttarayan and have kite-flying competitions, in Maharashtra the rituals slightly differ. Here’s how Makar Sankranti is celebrated in Maharashtra. Also Read - MCI vs LIV Dream11 Team Prediction Premier League 2019-20: Captain, Vice-captain, Fantasy Tips For Today's Manchester City vs Liverpool Football Match at Etihad Stadium 12:45 AM IST July 3

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy:  Saloni Desai/Wikimedia Commons

The state celebrates Makar Sankranti by exchanging sweets made of sesame seeds and jaggery or as they call it til-gul laddo0. They also wish each other on the day and with this gesture, they strive to keep their friendship alive for the rest of the year. Even if you have some issues, this is the day to forget and forgive by exchanging these sweet treats. There is a saying that goes ’til gul ghya, god-god bola’ that translates to ‘have these sweets and speak in a sweet manner’ as the sweetness of it will dissolve all the negativity and sourness of the relationship. Along with this, people also make puran poli which is a flat bread stuffed with jaggery and gram flour in it with pure ghee. All these are good for the body as during winter, the body needs food items to keep one warm and also to provide the necessary moisture. The ingredients in these dishes work well for the body. ALSO SEE History and significance of Makar Sankranti

Photograph courtesy: Kadiv/Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Kadiv/Wikimedia Commons

People celebrate Makar Sankranti for three days in Maharashtra and each day has a different importance. The first day is known as Bhogi. This is when the sun god is worshipped and people step out of the house in the morning to fly kites. The second day is called Sankranti and on this day, married women dress up in ethnic wear and have a get-together called Haldi-Kumkum which translates to turmeric-vermilion. They apply a dot of each on each other’s forehead where the bindi is usually applied and also gift each other household items that range from utensils to clothes, etc. The get-together usually takes place in the evening. The last day is called Kinkrant.

Makar Sankranti is also considered a very auspicious time and people also buy new things. They also thank Saraswati, goddess of knowledge on this day and meet and greet their loved ones. The festival is one of the most celebrated one in Maharshtra and rest of the country.

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