On Makar Sankranti day, Lord Sun meets his son Lord Shani. Lord Shani was ruling Makar Rashi. According to Vedic astrology, Lord Sun and Lord Shani cannot go well. Hence on Makar Sankranti, bitter past is forgotten and new beginning is started.
According to Mahabharata, wounded Bhishma chose to linger and leave his body on Makar Sankranti so that he can get heavenly home. So from then it is believed that whoever dies on Makar Sankranti will attain Nirvana.
On the day of Makar Sankranti, King Bhagirath brought Holy Ganga River to earth and liberated souls of King Sagar’s sons.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated on January 14th. It is the only festival that is celebrated on the same day except few exceptions. On this day Sun changes his marks to Makara Rashi.
Makara Sankranti is celebrated differently in different region. Devotees take bath in holy rivers and pray Sun God. In South India Makar Sankranti is known as Pongal. In Punjab it is known as Maghi. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana it is known as Sankranti and celebrated for four days. They are Bhogi, Makara Sankranti, Kanuma and Mukkanuma respectively. In Assam it is celebrated as Bhogali Bihu which is a harvest festival. In Bihar and Jharkhand it is celebrated on 14th and 15th January. It is known as Sankranti or Sakraat or Khichdi and Teel Barfi are made on this festival. In Delhi and Haryana, brothers gifts Sidha to married sister. In Goa women perform haldi-kumkum. In Gujarat it is called Uttarayan. It is celebrated for two days and it is one of the important festivals for them. Gujarati people fly kites on this festival which is known as Patangi. In Himachal Pradesh it is known as Magha Saaji. In Karnataka kids wear new cloths and visits near and dear ones with Sankranti offerings. Many melas are conducted on this day. Kumbha Mela is the most famous which is held once in 12 years in four holy locations.