MAKAR SANKARANTI:

       
Makar Sankaranti generally falls on January 14. It is a day of great significance and marks the beginning of auspicious time. The beginning of the period, when the sun travels northwards, is considered highly favourable for auspicious activities. It is celebrated as pongal in the south, but in the north it is observed as Makar Sankranti or Uttarayana and other holy streams. At Ganga Sagar, where the river Ganga entres the sea, a grand fair and festival is held on this day. Devotees in large number reach the Sagar  of Ayodhya. These sixty thousand dead princes were subsequently revived and made to ascend heaven  by the sacred water of divine Ganga,  as it flowed over their ashes.

        It is a very significant day, and so newly harvested corn is cooked  for the first time and offered to Sun and other deities. The poor are fed and given clothes, money, etc, in charity. In the morning, after the bath, people offer libations to their dead ancestors and visit the temples. Bhishma Pitamah waited on his couch of arrows, for a long period, only for the  onset of this auspicious season, before finally making his departure from the mortal world. In Assam it is called Magha Bighu or Bhogali Bihu,the festival of feasts. Bonfires are lighted in Assam on this day and the round of feasts and fun goes on for about a week.

        In Punjab, it is observed as Lohri, to mark the end of winter and advent of summer. Bonfires are lighted, and people dance to the tune of the drums, and sing flok songs around the fire, and then eaten by the people themselves. Lohiri is celebrated in cities, town and villages alike, with great fervour and enthusiasm.