Makara Sankranti is associated with Surya (Sun God), so the best way to start the day is by reciting the Gayatri Mantra.
It is believed that Lord Surya visits his son Lord Shani on this day, irrespective of their difference in opinions. Therefore many people make it a point to visit their sons and buy them gifts. It is also a day to forgive past quarrels and start afresh.
Simple food is the order of the day and many people prepare ‘kichari’ on this day. Sweets and dishes made out of Sesame oil (Til) are served on this day. Sweets made out of Til is exchanged as mark of friendship. The symbolic meaning is to emulate the quality of Tilgul – to stick together even in adversity. Rice meal is the order of the day in
Bihar, Jharkhand and is some parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Throughout India Makar Sankrati is in a way associated with harvest. So people pray for a good harvest on this day. Cows - which is an integral part of agriculture – is bathed and worshipped.
Another important aspect is ‘Daan’ or Charity. Charity does not merely confirm to money but a person donates what he/she is able to like food, Moong Dal, rice, ghee, Til etc.
There is slight variation in the festivities in different states
Maharashtra, sweets made out of Til dominate the day. The sweets are exchanged between friends and relatives. Married women in Maharashtra apply Haldi-Kumkum on each others forehead. Some houses invite married women and gifts are distributed.
In Rajasthan, especially in Jaipur, the most important event is the kite flying.
Gujarat, the important event is the kite flying. Elders also give gifts to family members on this day.
In Uttar Pradesh and people living along the banks of
Ganga takes a dip in the river on this day and offer prayers to Sun God.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated throughout
in different names and in India South India it is an important harvest festival.