Cultural celebrations are held across many states of India under different names – Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu, etc. on January 14.
About the Makar Sankranti
- It marks the Sun changing directions and shifting its trajectory towards the north, therefore, entering the Makara or Capricorn zodiac sign.
- The day is a marker for a change of season – warmer months are close and we are moving away from winter, which is seen as a period of inactivity in many ways.
- It is said that the northward journey of the sun (Uttarayan) begins on this day.
- Unlike most festivals that follow the lunar cycle, Makar Sankranti follows the solar cycle and thus, is celebrated almost on the same day every year.
- Astronomically, the Earth revolves around the Sun in an elliptical orbit that requires about 365 1/4 days to complete, as it continues to rotate on its own axis.
- The earth’s spin axis is tilted with respect to its orbital plane. This, along with its distance from the Sun, determines the change in seasons for life on Earth.
- For the Northern Hemisphere, the axis points most toward the sun in June (specifically around June 21), and away from the sun around December 21.
- This corresponds to the Winter and Summer Solstice (solstice is Latin for “the sun stands”). For the Southern Hemisphere, this is reversed.”
- It is also called as –
- Paush Parbon in Bengal
- Pongal in Tamil Nadu,
- Uttarayan in Gujarat,
- Bhogali Bihu in Assam,
- Lohri in Punjab and Jammu,
- Makar Sankramana in Karnataka,
- Saen-kraat in Kashmir.
- Khichdi Parwa in parts of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Q1) What is a solstice?
A solstice is an event that occurs when the Sun reaches its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere.