Makar Sankranti or Sankranti or Sankranthi marks the transition of the Sun into Makar Rasi (Capricorn) on its celestial path. This is significant considering the Winter Solstice marks the beginning of the gradual increase of the duration of the day. Scientifically, the shortest day of the year is around December 21st-22nd after which the days begin to get longer, hence actual Winter Solstice begins on December 21st or December 22nd when the tropical sun enters Makara rashi. Hence actual Uttarayana is December 21st. This was the actual date of Makar Sakranti too. But because of the earth's tilt of 23.45 degrees and sliding of Equinoxes, Ayanamasha occurs. This has caused Makara Sankranti to slide further over the ages. A 1000 years ago, Makar Sankranti was on Dec 31st and is now on January 14th. 5000 years later, it shall be by the end of February, while in 9000 years it shall come in June. Traditionally, this has been one of many harvest days in India.
Due to the geography and size of India, this festival is celebrated for innumerable reasons depending on the climate, agricultural environment, cultural background and location.
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