Makar Sankranti (Pongal)
It is an important Hindu harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. Celebrated in the Hindu Calendar month of Magha (mid January – mid February), Makar Sankranti is the day when the Sun God enters into the Northern Hemisphere, denoting the beginning of Uttarayana Punya Kaalam. Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti means transition and Makar Sankaranti marks the transition of the Sun into Capricorn on its celestial path.
Makara Sankranti also honors the worship of Goddess Saraswati and also for the departed ancestors. As this festival is dedicated to Sun God, people take a holy dip at Prayag and Ganga Sagar (important pilgrimage centers of India) to worship Sun.
Pongal festival or Thai Pongal festival is a four-day harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, South India. One of the most popular Tamil festivals, Pongal is celebratedas offering of prayers to nature. Pongal festival is celebrated for four days from the last day of the Tamil month of Margazhi (mid December — mid January) to the third day of Thai (mid January – mid February) and coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi and Lohri festival of north India.
In Astrology, this is the period when the sun traverses from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer via the Equator (from 14th January to 14th July), and this movement is termed as Uttarayan.
Following are the four days of Pongal Festival celebrated.
1) Bhogi Pongal
2) Surya Pongal
3) Maatu Pongal
4) Kaanum Pongal (or Kanum Pongal)