In the year 2020 the Makar Sankranti will be observed on January 15 and not on January 14. While normally Makar Sankranti falls every year on January 14, this year the festival will be observed on the next day. In this article, we have explained the reason.
Makar Sankranti is set by the solar cycle of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, and is observed on a day which usually falls on 14 January of the Gregorian calendar, but sometimes on 15 January. Makar Sankranti falls in the Hindu calendar solar month of Makara, and the lunar month of Magha.
There are two different systems to calculate the Makar Sankranti date: nirayana and sayana. The January 14 date is based on the nirayana system, while the sayana system typically computes to about December 23, as per most texts for Hindu calendars.
As per the solar calendar, after one year, the Sun comes to the same location 20 minutes late every year, which means the Sun needs 1 day extra after every 72 years in the sky. That’s the reason why Makar Sankranti sometimes shifts from 14 January to 15 January, and so on.
This year Sun’s transition to the Makar rashi will happen on the night of January 14 at 02.07 am. As per Hindu holy texts if the time of transition of Sun falls after mid night in a day, the next day is observed as Sankranti. Accordingly, since the transition period of Sun this year is falling after midnight of January 14 (As per the Georgian calendar it is January 15) the next day, that is January 15, will be observed as Makar Sankranti.
Makar Sankranti signifies the arrival of longer days. The famous Ganga Sagar Mela of West Bengal is observed on the Makar Sankranti day in January every year.