Makar Sankranti is the day when the glorious Sun-God begins its ascendancy and entry into the Northern Hemisphere and thus it signifies an event wherein the Sun-God seems to remind their children that 'Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya'- may you go higher & higher, to more & more Light and never to Darkness.
To Hindus, the Sun stands for knowledge, spiritual light and wisdom. Makar Sankranti signifies that we should turn away from the darkness of delusion in which we live, and begin to enjoy a new life with bright light within us to shine brighter and brighter. We should gradually begin to grow in purity, wisdom, and knowledge, even as the Sun does from the Day of Makar Sankranti.
The festival of Makar Sankranti is highly regarded by the Hindus from North to down South. The day is known by various names and a variety of traditions are witnessed as one explores the festival in different states.
Considering the winter solstice marks the beginning of the gradual increase of the duration of the day. Scientifically, the shortest day of the year is around December 21–22 after which the days begin to get longer, hence actual Winter Solstice begins on December 21 or December 22 when the tropical sun enters Makara rashi. Hence actual Uttarayana is December 21. This was the actual date of Makar Sakranti too. But because of the Earth's tilt of 23.45 degrees and sliding of equinoxes, Ayanamsa occurs. This has caused Makara Sankranti to slide further over the ages.
Current Planetary Positions Ayanamsha(Lahiri/Chitrapaksha)
Planets Degrees Nakshatra Padam Nak.Lord
Sun (Su) 00 Cap 10' 05.77" U.shada 2 Sun
Moon (Mo) 02 Aqu 45' 01.69" Dhanishta 3 Mars
Mars (Ma) 21 Cap 03' 30.4" Shravana 4 Moon
Mercury (Me) 27 Sag 33' 02.16" U.shada 1 Sun
Jupiter (Ju) 12 Tau 44' 14.09" R Rohini 1 Moon
Venus (Ve) 12 Sag 17' 16.87" Mula 4 Ketu
Saturn (Sa) 16 Lib 24' 40.66" Svaati 3 Rahu
Rahu (Ra) 28 Lib 51' 30.4" R Vishaakha 3 Jupiter
Ketu (Ke) 28 Ari 51' 30.4" R Krittika 1 Sun