Hey there! How are you? Hope you are in pink of your health.
"Life becomes a festival When gaiety and culture blend." On this Sankranti, I had myself filled with lots of questions and none could actually satisfy me with their answers. Haven't you faced a similar situation? well, let me know if you did. Here is all we have to know about the festival Sankranti celebrated in Andra Pradesh.
"Nothing brings people together like festivals do" Firstly let us understand the word festival and why should it be celebrated. Festival is a day or group of days which relieve us from the daily grind and allow hearts to connect with our families and experience togetherness , love, cheerfulness , enthusiasm more than enough to get revived and refreshed. Festival is celebrated to express glorious culture, heritage and traditions. It helps us to keep in connection with our roots , origin and preserve it. At the time of festivals the aura changes, more positivity naturally lowers negativity.
Makara Sankranti or simply Sankranti is celebrated in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. The term "Makar" in Makar Sankranti is coined for the sun's transit to the Makar Rashi or Capricorn, making the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of the ever-lengthening days.
Makar Sankranti is from the Mahabharata period and is believed that Bhishma Pitamah despite of suffering badly from Arjuna's arrows in the battlefield decided to leave his body on the day of Sankranti as he had a boon of death as per his will (Ichha Mrityu) from his father. It is believed that anyone who passes away during Makar Sankranti will pass on to heaven.
Sankranti : The Goddess
The Legend has it that Sankranti was a goddess who slayed the demon Sankarasur on this day who tortured and troubled people with no reason.
Sankranti : The harvest festival
Makar Sankranti is believed to be a time for peace and prosperity and hence people of India and Nepal celebrate their harvest by expressing their gratitude to the sun god Surya. Makar Sankranti has various names, such as Magha Sankranti in Nepal, Magh Bihu in Assam, Lohri in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Ghughuti in Uttarakhand, Makara Sankranti in Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal (also called Poush Sankranti) and Uttar Pradesh (also called Khichidi Sankranti) or as Sankranthi in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Makara Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh
Makara Sankranti in Andra pradesh is celebrated for three days. Bogi , Pedha panduga and Kanuma.
Day 1 : Bogi
On this day farmers express their gratitude to Lord Indra the god of clouds and rains for bringing wealth and prosperity (good harvest). People clean their homes and get rid of old and unused things specially wooden furniture and old clothes in an intention for a new beginning.
After the cleaning of their houses they used to decorate their entrances with beautiful muggulu which means the drawings made on the floor by using rice flour on which Gobemmas (the balls made of cow dung which are decorated with turmeric powder (pasupu), red vermion powder (Kumkuma), flowers and with different types of grains.) are placed for decoration.
Special pooja is performed by the farmers by anointing their ploughs and sickles with sandalwood paste which are used to cut newly harvested rice after the pooja(ritual).
At the dawn, people light a bon fire with logs of wood and cow dung cakes. The old furniture, clothes which are discarded while cleaning the house and agricultural waste will be thrown into the bon fire to get rid of the waste and old things and have a great new start. Cow dung is said to be holy and the smoke generated from the burning of the cow dungs kept mosquitoes, flies and pest away.
However, with the lack of farm wastes in the city, the rural migrants living in the cities are just keen to make a bonfire with whatever they could lay their hands on, including rubber, plastic materials, garbage and a few other harmful materials is leading to the greatest pollution threat nowadays.
Bogi Pallu (the telugu word "pallu" means fruits) which are seasonal berries known as regi pallu are mixed with seasonal flowers, sugarcane pieces, currency coins and akshinthalu (mixture of soaked and dried rice and turmeric). This mixture is showered on children under 5 years of age in the evenings to ensure their wellbeing, ward off an evil eye and invoke blessings from elders. Generous amount of sweets are prepared and distributed.
Day 2 : pedha panduga
Pedha panduga on Sankranthi is when the big festival is held. On having their old and unused things discarded the previous day people tend to have a fresh start to a new chapter from this day. Farmers prepare signature items like Pongal, Shakkara Pongal, sugarcane is offered to the God. People are dressed in new clothes and pray to the Sun god. Sun for the Hindus stands as the Pratyaksha Brahma, the glorious divinity that blesses one and all. Sun is not only regarded as Supreme God but also as an embodiment of truth, knowledge, and wisdom.
The Traditional Feast
Feasts are arranged to the guests and many traditional dishes are prepared. Families get together and make festive recipies like chakralu, arisalu, buralu, gavvalu, purnalu, bundi mithai, bundi laddu, garelu, chakinalu, nuvvula appalu, katte appalu or karam appalu, madugulu (jantikalu), bellam appalu, kudumulu, ariselu, appalu (a sweet made of jaggery and rice flour), dappalam (a dish made with pumpkin and other vegetables) and make an offering to God.
Day 3 : Kanuma
The third day, Kanuma is very intimate to the hearts of farmers because it is the day for praying and showcasing their cattle with honor. Cattle which work in the fields and contribute to a successful and generous harvest are the symbolic indication of prosperity. They are decorated, worshipped and fed pongal. Hindus consider cow as a holy God vehicle that is why they touch the feet of gangireddu so that all their sins will perish and their life will blossom into flower.
The activities not only keep children happily busy and creatively engaged, it also introduces them to family traditions and teaches them about culture and customs.
Bommala koluvu is the arrangement of idols and dolls in the form of step-like horizontal arrays. It's not just about the deities from the Hindu pantheon, but the 'Bommala Koluvu' thematically represents social events such as marriage, public gathering and more.
Kite flying on sankranti is the sign for farmers that the sun is back and that harvest season is approaching. The tradition of kite flying is for a healthy exposure in the early morning Sun. These initial rays are healthy and a good source of Vitamin D. It is also considered to be good for skin and helps in fighting many infections and sickness caused by the chilly winter winds. The kite flying festival is held on the day of Pedha panduga.
The cock fight
The cockfight is a blood sport between two cocks, or gamecocks, held in a ring called a cockpit Cock fights will be conducted day and night under floodlights in many villages on Bhogi, Makara Sankranthi and Kanuma festivals. Thousands of roosters, sharp knives, crores of money and huge arenas are being readied for organising rooster fights as prestige during the three-day Sankranti festivities
Haridas visits every home and people offer rice and seek his blessings during night’s public enjoy street plays like harikada and burakada were Ramayana and Mahabharatham stories are narrated with dance and music.