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According to our vedic scriptures, Makara Sankranti i.e. Pongal is nothing but a synonym of Uttarayana (the shortest day of the year)
Makar Sakranti is very auspicious day for Hindus. This is celebrated all across India by lakhs of devotees. Sankrati literally means transition. According to anicient Hindu time calculation there are 12 zodiac sign. On this day Sun travels from Dhanu to Makar, hence it is called Makar Sankrati. Our plenary system attaches great importance to Sun God. It is a source of light to all species. Light is nothing but Knowledge. So sun transits from Dakshinayan to Uttarayan. From Makar sakranti onwards Hindus start their Marriages etc. Ther is a referance in Mahabharat that Bhisma who was blessed with the power to choose time of death for himself, delayed his time of death till Makar Sakranti. So he could die in Uttarayan.
It is celebrated in Punjab as Lohri, in Tamil Nadu as Pongal. Many devotees take a holy dip in Ganga Sagar in West Bengal. Kite flying is also done on this occasion. People make Khichdi (dish of rice and lentil). They also perform Yagnas.
On 14th january most of the year sun goes to makar rashi from dhanu rashi so this day is transition i.e sankranti day and sun trevel in makar rashi so the day is makar sankranti day.sun travels every month from one rashi to another rashi.But the makar sankranti has a special significance because saturn is the owner of makar rashi and it is said sun has not good relation with his son saturn.so saturn honour his father but sun feels demorlise to reach in the house of saturn.
India is agriculture dominating country and the role of sun in agriculture is significance so in all over india this festival is celibrated as PONGAL,LOHRI,MAKAR SANKRANTI etc.
i am from andhra pradesh
in andhra we have a calender
it is based on moon just like our english calender is based on sun
sankranthi means the starting day of a month in telugu calender
makar sankranthi is the starrting day of the month before which farmers get their crops farmers in olden days they used to celebrate the harvest by the name makar sankranthi
festival use to be there for four days
Bhoogi- where they burn all waste
Pongal when the main festivl is on.
Mattu pongal- this day Bull and cows are worshipped
4thdAY - this day jallikattu or the bull fight ritual happens
Sankranti or pongal is purely farmers festival , when they thank sungod to shine throughout year and sky to bless them with enough rain