All you need to know about puja timings, significance and celebrations

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The festival is dedicated to the Sun God (Lord Surya) and marks the beginning of the new harvest festival

A kite vendor wearing face masks as a precaution against coronavirus prepares kite ahead of the Hindu festival of Sankranti, when kite flying competitions are common in Hyderabad, India, AP

Makar Sankranti will be marked across the country on Friday, 14 January. The festival is dedicated to the Sun God (Lord Surya) and marks the beginning of the new harvest festival. Makar Sankranti is also the day when the Sun moves into the Capricorn (Makara) rashi.

On this day, farmers across the country wish for a good harvest.  Makar Sankranti is considered extremely auspicious and several people believe that they can get blessed by the gods by taking a bath in the Ganga river on this day.

Date and mahurat:

Makar Sankranti will fall tomorrow, 14 February. According to the Drik Panchang, the timings of the Makar Sankranti Punya Kala will be from 2:43 pm to 5:45 pm tomorrow. The Maha Punya Kala tithi will also start at 2:43 pm and go on till 4:28 pm. Furthermore, 2:43 pm is also the Makar Sankranti moment, as per the Drik Panchang.

Celebrations:
Makar Sankranti marks the transition from colder, shorter days to longer, warmer ones, as the Sun moves into Capricorn. The festival is a part of the early stages of the Rabi crop cycle and is celebrated with much pomp by farmers. In Assam, the occasion is called Magha Bihu, and in Punjab and the southern states, Makar Sankranti is known as Lohri and Pongal.

All over the country, people perform puja to Lord Surya. Sweets made from jaggery and sesame are consumed on this day. People also believe it is auspicious to cook and eat khichdi on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. In Gujarat, kite flying is done of the occasion as a customary practice.

Many people also go for a dip in sacred water bodies like the Ganga or perform charity on this day to invoke the blessings of the gods.

Significance:

Makar Sankranti also marks the start of the auspicious Uttarayana period for Hindus, which lasts for six months. The association with Uttarayana dates back to the Mahabharata, when Bhishma Pitamah waited for the sun to be in Uttarayana before breathing his last on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.



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