1. "Sankramana" means, san + kramana, to commence movement. Hence, the name Makar Sankranti is given to one of the largest, most auspicious, but varied festivals in the Indian subcontinent. 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.
2. Uttarayana is referred as Devayana, as it is the day for devataas and as such most of the auspicious things are done in this period only.
3. It is on this day that Bhagiratha gave tarpana to his ancestors in Ganga.
4. Bhishma, was in the sharapanjana for more than 50 days, and he was waiting for this parvakala, i.e., Uttarayana punyakala for breathing his last. It is said that those who die during Uttarayana punyakala, will not have punarjanma. (provided he has done all his dharma kaarya)
5. Preparation of Pongal - On this day, preparation of sweet rice is the most important recipe done. This is a food prepared with rice, dal, jaggery, grapes, dry fruits, sugar and milk. All these ingredients are cooked in a pot in the open and allowed to boil over, signifying plenty and prosperity for the year ahead. This is offered to the Suryanamaka paramathma as naivedya.
6. Harvest festival - Pongal is termed as harvest festival. On this day, the farmer expresses his gratitudes or thanks to land, cattle and the sun.
Uttarayana Punyakala – DOs.
1. After Uttarayana Punyakala, take bath using ellenne or atleast smearing ellu on the body. If possible, do snaana in a River during Uttarayana Punyakaala.
2. Light up ellu deepa (Gingelli oil) in front of God.
3. Give Tilatarpana to All Pitrus
4. Ellu homa: i.e mix ellu along with rice and perform vaishvadeva.
5. Ellu Daana: Mixture of ellu and jaggary and cocunut has to be given to Brahmin.
6. Ellu Sweekara: Eating the above mixture. Seasame variety rice should be cooked for the Naivedya. Atleast 6 types of items should be made of Ellu on this day for naivedya.
Devarapooja on Makara Sankramana -
It is preferable to do Pooja followed by Naivedya on Makara Sankaramana Day during Parvakaala. If done, they will get more punya. Those who are doing pooja during Parvakala, they have to do nirmalya in the morning as usual, sandhyavandana, parayana, etc. During Parvakala, he has to take bath once again and do the pooja. Those who does not have the time, or incapable to wait upto Parvakala, may do it in the morning itself.
Please note Hastodaka not to be given on this day as yathigalu will be fasting.
Morning he has to get up as usual (Usha:kaala), even though the Uttarayana Punyakala is late. Sometimes, the punyakala comes during afternoon or evening. Still they have to get up early as usual and do our regular Snaana, Sandhyavandhane, Nirmalya Visarjane, etc, as usual. (Some people may not get up as there is lot of time for UttarayaNa Punyakala)