As we know Uttarayana is being celebrated as Makar Sankranti or Makara Sankramana when Sun enters Capricorn or Makara Rashi which approx falls on Jan 14, as 2021.

This is considered as Uttarayana. But this was fixed a long tiime ago and due to precession of equinoxes Sun starts moving North on Dec 21 instead of Jan 14.

So shouldn't we all celebrate Uttarayana punya kala on Dec 21 every year?

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    – The Destroyer
    Dec 24, 2021 at 12:51

2 Answers 2


Yes. The word Ayana means a path and the suffix Uttara and Dakśiṇa are North and South Direction respectively. So Uttara-Ayana means the northward journey of the Sun. This starts around Dec21/22 when the southern latitude of Sun is at its lowest around 24deg South and ends around June21/22 when the Sun's latitude is around 24deg North. When the Sun goes from South to North it is Uttarāyaṇā and when it goes from South to North it is Dakśiṇāyaṇā.

Uttarāyaṇa used to take place in 1st Pada of Uttarāṣāḍhā ( End of Dhanur Rāśi ) around 2100 years ago and documented around the time of Varāhamihirā in the 1st century BCE. However texts like Vedaṅga Jyotiṣam has documented that Uttarāyaṇa happenned in Śrāviṣthā nakśatra which is in Kumbha Rāśi. Uttarāyaṇa will take place in each Rāśi for around 2250 years ( 1year = 360days ). Below is the image from the translation done by Dr K V Sarma of the Vedānga Jyotiṣam for Indian National Science academy.

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Yes because many such old calculations are outdated.

Great Hindu festivals, like Uttarayana, Dakshniayana, Dhanur Masa, Chatur Masa, Ugadi all seem to be out of sync.

I doubt that even Vaikunta Ekadashi and Maha Shivarathri, Ratha Saptami are also out of sync.

Uttarayana means Northward movement of Sun. Hindus celebrate it on Makara Sankranti. Any reasonably educated person will know that Uttarayana and Makara Sankranti are different. Uttarayana happens on Dec 21. Makara Sankranti happens on Jan 14.

They use to fall on the same day around 100 to 400 AD. But have slowly moved away from then on.

There is a common misconception[3] that Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of Uttarayana. This is because at one point in time Sayana and Nirayana zodiac were the same. Every year sidereal and tropical equinoxes slide by 50 seconds due to axial precession, giving birth to Ayanamsha and causing Makar Sankranti to slide further. When equinox slides it will increase ayanamsha and Makar Sankranti will also slide. This misconception continues as there is not much difference between actual Uttarayana date which occurs a day after winter solstice (Dec 21) when the sun makes the northward journey, and January 14. However, the difference will be significant as equinoxes slide further. In 272 AD, Makar Sankranti was on Dec 21. In 1000 AD, Makar Sankranti was on Dec 31 and now it falls on January 14. After 9000 years, Makar Sankranti will be in June. Then Makar Sankranti would mark the beginning of Dakshinayana.

Source (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uttarayana)

But Hindus still celebrate Uttarayana on Makara Sankranti. Look what Sri Bala Gangadhar Tilak says.

The composer of Surya Siddhanta defines Uttarayana, at the time of composition, as the period between the Makara Sankranti (which currently occurs around January 14) and Karka Sankranti (whrrently occurs around July 16).[1][6] Bal Gangadhar Tilak proposes an alternative, early vedic definition of Uttarayana as starting from Vernal Equinox and ending with Autumnal Equinox

Source (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uttarayana)

Link to my Quora article.

Why are Hindus still celebrating Makara Sankranti as Uttarayana? Because the calculations are outdated.


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