Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious Hindu celebrations and marks the end of harvest in several parts of the country. An interesting aspect of the celebration is that it follows the solar cycle instead of the lunar cycle like many other Hindu festivals. This year, Makar Sankranti will begin on January 15, 2020, and will continue for two more days. Maharashtra is one of the states in India where the festival is greatly revered and celebrated with fervour.
Makar Sankranti marks the harvest season for Maharashtra, which is why it is celebrated throughout the state with great passion. A day before the festival begins, people clean their houses and make sure that everything is immaculate. Most also wear ethenic Maharashtrian clothing during the three days of the festival.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the festival is the flying of kites. On the first day of the festival called bhogi, people both young and old go outside their house and fly kites to pay respect to the sun god Surya. The second day of the festival also sees kite flying, but the most important aspect of the day is the ritual of haldi-kumkum, where married women apply vermillion and turmeric on each other's forehead. The last day of the festival is called Kinkrant and celebrates the legendary defeat of the demon Kinkarasur.
There also several special dishes that are made around the time of Makar Sankranti. Til Gul is one of the main food attractions of the festivals. These small sweets balls are made from sesame seeds, and jaggery, and are given to friends and family in celebration of the auspicious festival. Another popular dish that is prepared during the time of Makar Sankranti is the iconic Maharashtrian sweet dish, Puran Poli.