Makar Sankranti 2024: Significance, Sesame Seeds and 10 Traditional Dishes

Makar Sankranti 2024


Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti marks the sun's celestial journey into Capricorn, celebrated with fervour across India on January 14th or 15th. This Hindu festival encapsulates diverse cultural hues, known by various names like Pongal, Lohri, and Magh Bihu in different regions.

The festival of Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan signifying the end of the winter solstice and the onset of warmer days, Makar Sankranti embodies the agricultural abundance and the tireless efforts of farmers. It intertwines religious practices, vibrant kite-flying traditions, and a tapestry of culinary delights, symbolizing light's triumph over darkness. 


Makar Sankranti 2024: From Ritual to Recipe - A Celestial Journey

In this blog we have tried to cover the What is Makar Sankranti, its significance, when is Makar Sankranti 2024, different names of Makar Sankranti across states and languages, and the ritualistic use of sesame seeds, and top 10 traditional Makar Sankranti dishes. So, join us on this journey to discover the joyous feasting, cultural richness, and the celestial charm that envelopes India during this auspicious transition of the sun.

Table of Content:


What is Makar Sankranti and Its Significance?

Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti: Celebrating the Sun's Transition – Makar Sankranti is a Hindu Festival which is observed annually on January 14th or 15th, marking the transition of the sun into Capricorn (Makara). It is celebrated with great enthusiasm across India and is known by different names in various regions which you will find further in the blog. The festival signifies the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of longer, warmer days.

Significance of Makar Sankranti:


  • Makar Sankranti is mainly a harvest festival that celebrates the end of the winter crop season. It celebrates farmers' tireless efforts and the abundance of fresh produce.
  • The festival of Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan celebrates the sun's northward migration, signaling the end of a cold winter and the start of a warmer environment for agricultural activities.
  • Makar Sankranti is celebrated with various customs and traditions throughout India. Pongal, Lohri, Uttarayan, Magh Bihu, and other names are used in different places to highlight the country's cultural richness.
  • The Makar Sankranti festival has religious significance, with devotees taking ritual baths in sacred rivers, performing Surya Puja (worshipping the Sun God), and making offerings to deities.
  • Kite flying is a significant Makar Sankranti practice across India, particularly in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Telangana. The sky becomes a brilliant canvas as colorful kites soar overhead, signifying light's victory over darkness.
  • The festival of Makara Sankranti or Uttarayan is also a time for feasting on traditional dishes like Sesame Sweets, Til Ladoo, Gajak, Makara Chaula, Payesh, Puran Poli, Khichdi, Pinni, Undhiyu, Sakkar Pongal, and Ven Pongal etc. Families and communities come together to share meals, strengthening social bonds.

Makar Sankranti is a festival that perfectly combines agricultural, astrological, and cultural aspects. It is a season of joy, thankfulness, and hope as people embrace the sun's beneficial influence and the promise of prosperity in the following months.



When is Makar Sankranti 2024?

In case you are also confused as to whether Makar Sankranti 2024 should be celebrated on 14 January or 15 January, we have the answer for you –

The festival of Makar Sankranti is usually celebrated on 14 January, but this year it is being celebrated on 15 January due to the movement of the planets. Sankranti is called Makar Sankranti when the Sun moves from Sagittarius to Capricorn. This year, the Sun enters Capricorn (Makar Sankranti) from Sagittarius at 2:44 am on the 14th (as per Hindu Calendar every day starts with Sunrise which means a day roughly starts at 6AM in the morning). This festival will therefore only be observed on the 15th of Udaya Tithi (morning).



What Makar Sankranti is Called in Different States of India?

Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan is celebrated all over India with different names in different regions here is what Makar Sankranti is called in different States of India –


  • Makar Sankranti is called Bhogali Bihu and Magh Bihu in Assam.
  • Makar Sankranti is called Khichdi Parv in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
  • Makar Sankranti is called Lohri in Punjab and Haryana.
  • Makar Sankranti is called Maghi in Punjab.
  • Makar Sankranti is called Makara Vilakku in Kerala.
  • Makar Sankranti is called Pongal in Tamil Nadu.
  • Makar Sankranti is called Sankranthi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
  • Makar Sankranti is called Uttarayan in Gujarat.



What Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan is Called in Different Languages in India?

Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan is celebrated all over India with different names in different regions here is what Makar Sankranti is called in different languages in India –


  • Punjabi: Maghi
  • Tamil: Thai Pongal
  • Gujarati: Uttarayan
  • Kannada: Sankranthi
  • Hindi: Makar Sankranti
  • Telugu: Pedda Panduga
  • Bengali: Poush Sankranti or Makar Sankranti
  • Odia: Makara Sankranti or Makara Mela
  • Assamese: Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu
  • Malayalam: Makara Vilakku
  • Marathi: Makar Sankrant
  • Nepali: Maghe Sankranti



Significance of Sesame Seeds (Til) and Sesame Seeds Oil (Til ka Tel) in Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan?

Have you ever wondered why the Sesame Seeds and Sesame Seed Oil is used especially during Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan in India? We can find the reason behind the use of Sesame Seeds and Sesame Seed Oil during Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan in the Hindu Mythology.

According to Hindu mythology, sesame seeds, or "Til," emerged from Lord Vishnu's sweat and descended to Earth as a gift. Aside from their culinary value, these tiny seeds symbolise immortality, having been blessed by Yama himself. According to Hindu scriptures, they become the focal point of Makar Sankranti and are used in various ways throughout India.


Top 10 Traditional Makar Sankranti Dishes:

India is the land of the festivals and each festival has their own food dishes so does the Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan. On Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan people across the country prepares various kind of traditional food dishes such as Till Ladoo, Gajak, Makara Chaula, Payesh, Puran Poli, Khichdi, Pinni, Undhiyu, Sakkar Pongal, and Ven Pongal etc. These dishes are not only delicious but also hold cultural significance.

Here are top 10 traditional Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan dishes cooked and served during the festival - 

1. Til Ladoo (Sesame Seed Laddu): Til ladoos are delicious treats prepared with sesame seeds and jaggery. These bite-sized delicacies represent the festival's sweetness and joy.

2. Pongal: Pongal is a famous dish in southern India, particularly Tamil Nadu, made from newly harvested rice, lentils, milk, and jaggery. It is a delicious and sweet dish served during the celebration.

3. Undhiyu: Gujarati specialty Undhiyu is a mixed vegetable curry prepared with papdi, brinjal, and potatoes. It is often enjoyed with puris during the festival. It is enjoyed with puris during the festival.

4. Chikki: Chikki is a crispy sweet treat prepared from jaggery and nuts, usually peanuts or sesame seeds. It is cooked in different places and is a popular snack during Makar Sankranti.

5. Ghee Roasted Khichdi: Makar Sankranti is celebrated in various parts of North India with a special khichdi made with rice and lentils cooked in ghee. It represents warmth and comfort during the winter season.

6. Sakkarai Pongal: Sakkarai Pongal is a South Indian sweet dish prepared from rice, jaggery, ghee, and cashews. It is a must-have during the festival, as it represents sweetness and prosperity.

7. Gajak: Gajak is a traditional sweet dish prepared of sesame seeds, peanuts, and jaggery. It is cooked in different ways throughout India and is frequently shared among friends and family.

8. Patishapta: Patishapta is a Bengali dessert made on Makar Sankranti. It's a thin crepe filled with coconut, khoya (reduced milk), and jaggery.

9. Til Chikki: Til Chikki is a traditional sweet dish prepared mostly from sesame seeds and jaggery. It is one of the favourite dishes during the Makar Sankranti festival, with a delicious combination of nutty and sweet flavours.

10. Ghee and Jaggery Rotis: Rotis cooked with ghee and jaggery, which represent the essence of warmth and sweetness, are popular in various places, particularly Maharashtra.
These traditional Makar Sankranti dishes not only reflect India's great culinary diversity, but also reflect the essence of the celebration, highlighting gratefulness for the harvest and the beginning of warmer days.


Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti:

1. How is Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti Celebrated in Ahmedabad, Gujarat?

In Ahmedabad, Uttarayan is widely celebrated as the arrival of spring and the end of winter. The city comes alive with colourful kites filling the sky, and people compete in friendly kite-flying contests. Families assemble on roofs to fly kites, and the atmosphere is joyous, with music, dance, and traditional Gujarati cuisine. The International Kite Festival in Ahmedabad is a big event, attracting participants and spectators from all over the world.

2. What do People do on Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti?

During Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti, people fly kites, compete in friendly games, and eat traditional dishes. Families gather on roofs during the day to fly kites. The sky transforms into a vivid display of colourful kites, creating a cheerful and joyful environment.

3. What is Uttarayan Called in English?

The festival of Uttarayan is known as Makar Sankranti in English. The Makar Sankranti festival celebrates the sun entering the sign of Capricorn.

4. The Festival Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti is Famous for, What?

Uttarayan is well-known for its kite-flying celebration during Makar Sankranti. Ahmedabad's International Kite Festival boosts its popularity even further.

5. Which State and City is Famous for Uttarayan?

Gujarat state and Ahmedabad city are particularly well-known for their significant Uttarayan celebrations, which include the International Kite Festival, which draws participants and visitors from all over the world.



Makar Sankranti 2024   Makar Sankranti Significance   Different Names of Makara Sankranti   Top 10 Traditional Makar Sankranti Dishes   Uttarayan   Pongal   Kite Festival   Sesame Seed   Til   Sesame Oil   Gajak   Til Laddu   Gujarat   Ahmedabad Kite Festival  



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