January 14, 2013, is Makar Sankranti! The festival gets its name from the annual northward movement of the sun (Sanskrit: Shankramana = to begin to move).
To many people, Makar Sankranti ushers in the New Year. Newly-harvested grains are cooked for the first time on that day. Among the Tamils in southern India, Pongal is celebrated around the same time as Makar Sankranti. In Andhra Pradesh, it is observed as Bhogi. Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home. The poor are fed and clothed. On the next day, the cow is worshiped, and birds and animals are fed.
Bengal's 'Makar Sankranti' entails the preparation of traditional rice-sweets called 'Pittha' and the holy fair - Ganga Sagar Mela at the Ganga Sagar beach. Assam's 'Bihu' involves the early morning worship of Agni, the god of fire followed by a nightlong feast with family and friends.