Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival celebrated across India with immense joy and enthusiasm. We dedicate this festival to Lord Surya (Sun). ‘Makar’ means Capricorn and ‘Sankranti’ means the transmission of the Sun from one zodiac to another.
In Bhavishya Purāna (one of the eighteen Purānas) Lord Krishna has explained the importance of Sankranti Vrata. Also, He narrates the rituals to perform on this auspicious day to Yudhisthir.
King Yudhishthira asked, “Lord Govind, please suggest a Vrata that absolves all sins, cures illness and is eternally fruitful.”
Lord Shree Krishna said, "O King, carried out at the time of Sankranti, I am now describing the procedural Vrata which in the present world fulfills all wishes; And in the para-world provides unwearied fruits. One should start this Vrata at the time of Uttarayana (summer solstice), Dakshinayana (winter solstice) or in Vishuvyog. On the eve of Sankranti, one should eat one time in the day. Then, the next morning, one should brush their teeth and bathe with Til (sesame) mixed water.
One should use sandalwood to draw an eight-petalled lotus together with its stem and summon Lord Surya on it. Write ‘सूयार्य नमः’ on the stem; ‘आदित्याय नमः’ on east petal; ‘सप्तार्चिषे नमः’ on south-east petal; ‘ऋङ्मण्डलाय नमः’ on south petal; ‘सवित्रे नमः’ on south-west petal; ‘वरुणाय नमः’ on west petal; ‘सप्तसप्ताय नमः’ on north-west petal; ‘मार्तण्डाय नमः’ on north petal; ‘विष्णवे नमः’ on north-east petal. With these mantras, one should summon Lord Surya on the lotus and pray repeatedly to him.
After this, one should worship Lord Surya, on Vedi (a platform). One should make an offering of sandalwood, flower garland, fruits, and food. Then, according to capability, one should buy a gold lotus with a bowl of Ghee and a Kalash; And donate it to Brāhman. Then one should offer sandalwood and water with flower petals to Lord Surya by putting them on the ground. The emotion to this offering is, “O eternal, you are the world. The world is your formation. You are the most glorious in the entire world, self-created, lords of Dhāta, Rigveda, Yajurveda, and Sāmaveda. Salutations to you.” In this way, one should fulfill this procedure every month. If someone is incapable, they can do this twelve times only at the end of the year. Both ways, one will bear the same fruits.
After a year, one should sacrifice Ghee mixed with Kheer to fire and superior Brahman. One should donate twelve cows with jeweled-gold-lotus and Kalash to Brāhman. One should also donate a model of earth with Sheshnāga on her, made of gold, silver, or bronze. If a person is incapable of this, they can donate a model of earth with Sheshnāga, made of flour and a golden model of the sun.
While in the mortal world, Mahendra, etc. gods, Himālaya, etc. mountains and earth with her seven seas are intact. Heaven with its entire Gandharva group will worship this Vrata in the best ways. After the annihilation of the material world, at the beginning of the next creation, the doer of this Vrata becomes the lord of the seven continents; Fulfilled with superior inheritance and nature. They inherit a beautiful figure and a beautiful wife. Many offspring, siblings and relatives pray to their feet. In the same way a person, who reads or listens to the complete procedure of Surya-Sankranti Vrata or enlightens others to do so, too is worshiped by the gods in Indraloka."