Makar Sankranti is one of the most prosperous day for the Hindus and celebrated in all parts of the country. Many people take a holy bath in Ganga & Prayag and pray to Lord Sun. In southern parts of the country it is celebrated with ritual as Pongal in Punjab it is celebrated as Lohri & Maghi.
People used to get up early in the morning, before sunrise, have a head bath and get ready with water & flowers for the sunrise. And they will worship the rising Sun by offering water, flowers by chanting the Gayatri Mantra. People offer water to the ancestors while praying for their blessings.
People prepare laddus or some other sweets and offer them to neighbors & relatives.
According to the lunar calendar, when the sun moves from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Pausha in mid-January, it hallow the beginning of the harvest season. The movement of the Sun from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn zodiac known as Makar in Hindi, this occasion is named as Makar Sankranti in the Indian context.
Gayatri Mantra is chanted everyday by every faithful Hindu, is directed to Sun God to bless them with intelligence & wisdom.
Makara Sankranthi is celebrated differently in different parts of the country.
In Uttar Pradesh, Sankrant is called as ‘Khichiri’. Performing a dip in holy rivers on this day is considered as most fortunate. Magha-Mela begins at Prayag(Allahabad) in this seasson. Holy bath in Triveni also takes place at many places like Haridvar, Mukteshwar and Garh in Uttar Pradesh.
In Tamil Nadu Sankrant is called by the name ‘Pongal’. It is very popular festival for farmers. After the ritual worship Rice and pulses cooked together in ghee and offers milk to the family deity.
In Andhra Pradesh, this harvest festival is celebrated for four days. It is a big event for the people of Andhra Pradesh. People in Andhra Pradesh call it as ‘Pedda Panduga’ means big festival. The first day Bhogi, second day Sankranti, third day Kanuma and the fourth day, Mukkanuma.