According to the Hindu calendar, Makar Sankranti is celebrated at Magh 1st of the Hindu solar calendar for the happiness of getting new crops for the farmers. It also symbolizes the end of winter solace which makes the day longer than night. The festival of Makar Sankranti is also a great way to please the Sun in your favor and get its blessings. This festival is very popular among the Hindus and is celebrated in most parts of India with great enthusiasm. The name of this festival is known as Makar Sankranti because the movement of Sun from one zodiac sign to another is known as Sankranti and the Sun moves into Capricorn, which is known as Makara in Sanskrit.
Apart from being just a harvesting festival, it is also considered to be a holy phase of transition, marking the end of an inauspicious phase which according to the Hindu calendar begins around mid-December. Therefore, this day onwards, any auspicious or sacred ritual can be sanctified in any Hindu family. This festival is celebrated with different names and rituals in different parts of India. The northern and western parts of India celebrate this as Sankranti Day with special zeal and enthusiasm. The importance of this day has also been linked to ancient epics like Mahabharat. This festival of Sun God is also regarded as the symbol of wisdom and divinity.
According to the classical Hindu texts, donations made on Makar Sankranti are very beneficial and for best results you can donate wheat, jaggery, red clothes, coconut, red flower and copper vessels. It is believed that Yashoda donated paan on this auspicious day which is why she got a very capable son, Lord Krishna. On this day, you should also wake up early in the morning, take a bath, wear red clothes, sit on a red cloth and then recite the mantra of sun, i.e., Om Ghirini Surya Aditya.
As mentioned before, Makar Sankranti is celebrated in the month of Magha, which falls on 14th January every year. On this day, it is considered to be very beneficial to keep a fast. You should have food one day before and that too only once and, on this day, you should donate khichdi to Brahmins and poor people.
For more information regarding how you can make the most of Makar Sankranti and 2019, consult the best astrologer in India, Pt. Pawan Kaushik.