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Makar Sankranti is a widely celebrated festival in India and also one of the first festivals of the year. It falls in January and the date also stays constant between 14 or 15. This happens only with a handful of other Indian festivals. Makar Sankranti is essentially to worship the sun god and so, people wake up early in the morning to soak in the first rays of the sun. This also has a scientific explanation as the sun rays in the morning have Vitamin D and benefits our health. Also Read - Corona Effect: Maoist Leaders in Odisha Announce Ceasefire, Urge State Govt to Help Them With Medicine, Basic Amenities



Makar Sankranti is called by different names too in different parts and harvest festival like Pongal also falls on the same day. In Gujarat, people call it Uttarayan and the main activity is flying kites. There are even kite-flying competitions held throughout the day, some even start a few days before. The festival marks the end of winter solstice and on the day of Makar Sankranti, the duration of day and night are equal. It is also a time when the sun starts moving northwards. This move is of astrological significance. ALSO SEE How is Makar Sankranti celebrated in Maharashtra Also Read - 'Suspending MPLADS Will Cause Delays in Devolution of Funds,' Shashi Tharoor Writes to PM Modi

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On Makar Sankranti, the sun enters the Tropic of Cancer by moving away from the Tropic of Capricorn. The sun sign Capricorn lasts for a few more days i.e. until January 19 before it changes to Aquarius. The sun starts moving away from the southern hemisphere towards the northern tropic resulting in warmer and longer days. This also why sun is worshipped. It is the arrival of summer in India that reaches its peak in the coming months. The word makar signifies Capricorn and sankranti means transition of the sun from its celestial path. Since this happens every month and the zodiac sign changes, a year has 12 sankrantis, however Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious ones. It is the change from darkness to light due to the sun’s movement. People wear new clothes and celebrate by lighting a bonfire in the evening. In some regions, they also burn their old things that are no longer required. People eat sesame seeds and jaggery and those who celebrate it as a harvest festival, boil rice as an offering. People also take a holy dip in the rivers to wash away their sins and seek god’s blessings. ALSO SEE Everything you need to know about Makar Sankranti

If you are planning to celebrate Makar Sankranti on January 14, there is a specific mahurat or auspicious time to do so. Like every Hindu festival, there is a time in a day when the pooja or ritual is performed for maximum gains. For Makar Sankranti in 2017, the date is January 14 and the auspicious time or mahurat begins at 7.50 am. It will last until 06.08 pm. People can perform the rituals that are associated with Makar Sankranti during this auspicious time.

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