How are Lohri, Makarsankranti and Pongal Different?

Festivals are a source of joy, happiness and create ever-lasting memories. And Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Lohri are the ultimate Indian festivals that are best enjoyed in the colder, snowier and windier month of January. All three festivals are celebrated with great gusto and delectable festive fare. However, one thing that often confuses people is whether Lohri, Pongal, Makar Sankranti are three different festivals or the same festivals but with different names. Read us out as we blow away the clouds of confusion.

How are Lohri, Makarsankranti and Pongal Different


Lohri is among the most celebrated festivals observed mainly by Hindus and Sikhs. It is celebrated a day prior to Makar Sankranti i.e. 13th January, where people pray, dance and celebrate around a bonfire. The festival primarily marks the last day of winter’s coldest days and welcomes the longer days. Also known as Lohadi, Lal Loi and the festival of harvest, Lohri marks the end of sowing season when farmers rejoice by singing folk songs. Lohri is also known as Lohadi or Lal Loi. People send gifts, Lohri wishes and greetings to their loved ones.

Makar Sankranti

The day after Lohri i.e. 14th January marks the festival of Makar Sankranti which is celebrated all across the country, in different ways. Why is Makar Sankranti celebrated? It marks the sun’s movement into Makar Rashi, hence the name. The day also marks the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of the sun’s northward or Uttarayan journey. Therefore, it is also known as Uttarayan. Devotees take a holy dip in the sacred rivers, fly kites, adorn traditional outfits and worship Sun God.


Makar Sankranti is followed by Pongal. It is a four-days (Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kanum Pongal) long harvesting festival. People celebrate it by decorating their houses with rangolis or kolams, cooking the first rice of the season with milk and jaggery, carrying out possessions and participating in community gatherings.

So you see, all three celebrate the change of the season and the main difference is in the way they are celebrated. Also, Pongal and Lohri are harvest festivals and are a way of thanksgiving to nature and God. The festivals provide a glimpse of rich and holy Indian traditions.