This is the only Indian festival which is celebrated every year on 14th January, The sun moves from Dakshinayana (Tropic of Cancer) to Uttarayana(Tropic of Capricorn). Capricorn zodiac known as Makar in Sanskrit and sankrant/sankraman means moving of Sun. That’s why it is called Makar Sankranti. It marks end of winter and beginning of longer. warmer days.
Makar Sankranti is also known as Gupi, Lohri, Pongal, Thaipusam etc. Even if called with different names, it is celebrated with great enthusiam. It is also major harvest festival.
Til (Sesame Seeds) has special importance on this festival.
In Maharashtra, people make special sweets made of til-jaggery ladoo/chikki(brittle). People visit friends and family and say “Til-Gul ghya, god-god bola” means (Take sweet and talk sweet as always). This is the only day when black color is regarded as auspicious. So women wear black sarees. The married women do haldi-kumkum ceremony in the evening and they give “Daan”(gift) of useful items/utensils.