For us, from the earth it looks like the Sun is moving. Very much like, when we sit on a train and as we start our journey, it looks like the station is pulling away from the carriage.
So Makara Sankranti literally means the ‘passage into Capricorn’. This is the day when the Sun advances towards the northern hemisphere of the earth. The days become longer, temprature rises, plants start blooming, basically the hemisphere comes back to life. This day happens between the 14th and 16th of January, every year.
This day is also the first day of Uttarayana. Vedic astrology divides the year into to two 6 month periods. Uttarayana when the Sun is closer to the northern hemisphere and Daksinayana is, when the Sun is closer to the sourthern hemisphere.
For us in the northern hemisphere the Uttarayana period is considered much more auspicious for everything. So traditionally this day is a very festive occasion in Vedic calendar. It is also stated in the Vedic scriptures that on this day, whatever we do, be it good or bad, we will get 10 thousand times the karmic reactions to our deeds.
So even to this day, in modern India you see people handing out sweets, water and all sorts of gifts to one and all to reap the benefit of selfless donating. It has also become a custom to fly kites on this day.
Spiritualists also commemorate this day, as according to ancient Indian history this was the day when Bhisma, after the great war of the Mahabharata, revealed the mantra Visnusahasranam to his nephews.
Visnusahasranam Stotram is the vers that lists the 1000 most important names of Lord Visnu.
Om Tat Sat
Adam Baktai aka Fat Yogi
The founder of Oriental Method