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Dates, Celebrations and Rituals – Everything You Need to Know

It is that time of the year when harvest festivals bring joy and celebration. Families decorate their homes, fly kites and enjoy delicious food, enjoying the winter sunshine with hope for a brighter future. This season marks the entry of the Sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn, which is known as Makar Sankranti. In North India, the occasion is celebrated as Uttarayan during Makar Sankranti, marking the northward movement of the Sun, dedicated to Lord Surya.

Uttarayan and Dakshinayan 2024 dates

In the north, devotees wake up early to take a dip in the Ganga and pray to seek the blessings of Lord Surya for prosperity. Farmers also pray for a bountiful harvest. Gujarat celebrates the two-day Uttarayan festival, Ahmedabad hosts the International Kite Festival. According to Drik Panchang, Uttarayan falls on 15 January, Sankranti moment is on 14 January at 2:54 am.

According to Bhagwat Geeta, the six months of Uttarayan are considered highly auspicious. It is believed that those who die during this period go straight to heaven. On this day, auspicious events like Yagya, job, business, fasting and marriage are encouraged. Many people go to Prayag, Sangam or Gangasagar for a holy dip in the Ganga or Yamuna.

In contrast, Dakshinayan, which marks the movement of the Sun from Cancer to Capricorn, is the opposite of Uttarayan and begins on July 16 this year.

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Makar Sankranti is celebrated annually with social festivities, including fairs, colorful decorations, music, dance, bonfires and feasts. As we prepare to celebrate Makar Sankranti this year, the festivities promise joy and cultural vibrancy.

Makar Sankranti is celebrated in various ways across India. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, it is marked by flying kites and special dishes like Tilgul. In Punjab, it is known as Lohri, celebrated with bonfires and traditional dances. In Tamil Nadu, it is Pongal, in which families cook rice dishes outside. In Assam, it is Magh Bihu, with feasts and traditional games.



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