Makar Sankranti – also Makara Sankranti, Makar Sankrant and Makarasankranti – is an auspicious day based on the movement of the Sun (Surya).
‘Makar’ or ‘Makara’ refers to ‘Makara rashi’ – the zodiac corresponding to Capricorn.
‘Sankranti’ in Sanskrit means ‘to cross into’ or the day when sun enters from one zodiac sign to another.
So Makar Sankranti is the day when the sun enters into the zodiac Capricorn. It is also known as Uttarayana Punyakalam or the entry of sun into the Northern Hemisphere. The six-month long Uttarayana begins on this day.
Makara Sankranti is celebrated in the Hindu month of Magh in Bengal, Paush in North India, Dhanu in Kerala and Margazhi in Tamil Nadu.
This date progresses in the English Calendar.
Why? Usually the day of Hindu celebrations vary from year to year in English Calendar.
But depending on the movement of the sun from south to north Makar Sankranti date progresses i.e., a decade ago Makar Sankranti was observed on January 12 and later on 13. Now it is on 14 or 15. In future it will be observed on January 16.