Uttarayan is the northern transit of Sun or Lord Surya and sun enters the Makar Rashi or Capricorn. Uttarayan 2017 date is January 14. The day is popularly known as Makar Sankranti or Sankrant. In
South India, the northern transit of Sun is known as Uttarayana Punnyakalam – a period of six months – and is believed to be the day time of the Devas. The term Uttarayan is popularly used in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The transition of sun, or Surya Sankranti, into Makar or Capricorn is considered highly auspicious and meritorious. According to Saint Jaimini, 12 hours and 46 minutes pre-and-post Sankranti is considered sacred. During this period making donations and helping poor is believed to bring merit to the donor.
Symbolically, the northern path is considered to be the path of Moksha.
On Uttarayan, millions of people take a holy dip at the sacred rivers especially in Ganga and Yamuna – especially at Prayag or Sangam or
. Thousands of people also take holy dip at Gangasagar in Allahabad Bengal.
Gujarat, special food is cooked on the day using grains from fresh harvest. Special food is also offered to domesticated animals.
Uttarayan is also popularly known for kite flying festival in
Gujarat. Thousands of kites takes to the sky during the period and kite flying competitions are also held in many regions.