In Mahabharat, Bhishm Pithama had a blessing of wish death. Although lying on the bed of arrows, he did not sacrifice his life in the Dakhsinayan, and waited for the Sun to go in Uttarayan. It is believed that on the day of Makar Sankranti, when sun entered in the Uttarayan, Bhishma Pithama, discarded his body. It is believed that person who scarifies his body(dies) in Uttarayan get a position in ‘Krishna Lok’. That person gets liberation, whereas, the one who dies in Dakhshinayan, has to be reborn.
Lord Vishnu has stopped the ever increasing violence of the demons by killing and burying their heads under a mountain called Mandar Parvat on this day.
Seeds of till have a superior capability to attract and emanate Sattva frequencies, eating or distributing tilgul improves spiritual knowledge on this day. Any donation and meritorious deeds in this period prove more fruitful. Those who take a Holy dip in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Kaveri at the Holy places situated on the banks of these rivers acquire the highest merit. Makar Sakranti is also celebrated with great enthusiasm as the Kite flying day.
In India it is known by different regional names:
- Makar Sankranti or Sankranti - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Sikkim,Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttarakhand.
- Uttarayan- Gujarat and Rajasthan
- Maghi - Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab
- Pongal - Tamil Nadu
- Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu - Assam Valley
- Shishur Saenkraat - Kashmir Valley
- Makara Vilakku Festival - Sabarimala Temple (Kerala)
This festival gives us a message that we should gradually begin to nurture transparency and awareness.