All forms of Brahman have at least one particular day in the Hindu calendar for their remembrance. Though Sun, the “star” which nurtures the earth and protects all life, is worshipped daily by many Hindus at both dawn and dusk, his presence in the universe is celebrated as a festival on the day it enters the astrological sign of Capricorn (Makar).*
Makar Sankranti is known for bathing in rivers, chanting, flying kites in the sky, and giving gifts to the underprivileged. According to the Padma Purana, any good karma** performed on this day becomes “eternal” and brings bigger karmic returns. Giving away (dana) of winter clothing and food items made from sesame seed (til) has been especially recommended by this scripture.
Happy Makar Sankranti!
*The sun travels through 12 signs every year and therefore causes 12 sankrantis, out of which the transits in Cancer and Capricorn have religious significance.
**Astrologically, Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, is the sign of karma. And it is ideal to begin the sun’s entry in this sign with a good act.