- THE HARVEST FESTIVAL
Hindu festivals are associated with the annual
cycle of seasons. Sankranthi, the biggest harvest
festival in Andhra Pradesh, is one of such festivals.
The festival is celebrated with the name 'Pongal'
in other parts of South India. It is celebrated to mark
the withdrawal of the south-east monsoon as well as the
reaping of the harvest. Sankranthi is generally celebrated
in mid-January every year. The word Pongal derives its
name from 'Pongali', a sweet preparation made from
freshly harvested rice. The newly harvested rice is cooked
on this festive occasion to acclaim the bounty of Gods.
Sankranthi, the biggest harvest festival, is celebrated
over three days. Each day is marked by different festivities.
The first day, Bhogi, is a day for the family.
On this day the entire family wakes early in the morning
and burns waste wooden rubbish accumulated through the
year. Cleaning and burning of rubbish symbolises the destruction
of evil. Also on this day, the elders in the family pour
different varieties of small fruit known as 'Bhogi
Pallu' on the heads of their children. This is performed
to bless the children with prosperity and good health.
second day, Sankranthi or Makara Sankranthi,
is dedicated to the worship of 'Surya', the Sun
God. The day marks the Sun's journey to the Capricorn
('Makara' raasi) of Northern Hemisphere, signifying
the onset of 'Uttarayana Punyakalam', and is a
day of celebration all over the country. On this occasion
relatives and friends meet and greet one another along
with having delicious dishes. The festive specials include
'sakinaalu', 'ariselu', 'jantikalu', 'chakralu' and
The third day, Kanumu, is for worship of the cattle
and other domestic animals. On this day, the cattle are
bathed, their horns polished and painted in bright colours.
Different garlands of flowers and small bells of brass
are placed around their necks. In the night, a bonfire
is lit and the animals are made to jump over the fire.
It is a big event for the people of Andhra Pradesh and
the Tamils. The pongali offered to the Gods is
then given to cattle and birds to eat.
advent of Sankranthi is associated with Spring.
Colourfully decorated designs or rangolis, known as 'Muggulu',
are drawn in the front of every household during this
month. These artistic floral designs are drawn on the
floor with rice flour or fine powder from limestone. These
patterns are decorated with marigold placed on 'cowdung'
balls called 'Gobbemmalu'. Colourfully dressed
young girls go around them singing songs. The village
scenes are really enchanting with 'Haridasus' and
In some parts of Southern India, Rath Yatra and
Bullock-cart processions are taken out from the
near by Temples. In some places adventurous pastimes
like 'Jelli Kattu' are performed. In this pastime
bundles of money are tied to the horns of bulls, and villagers
try and wrest the bundles from them. In some villages,
community meals are arranged to mark the festive occasion.
In January the streets of Hyderabad are bustling
with seasonal lingo. With Sankranthi, the festival of
kites, many places in the twin cities are brimming with
kite-flyers, literally. The Annual Kite Festival
is organised at Shilparamam and some other parts
of the City. There are many sporting kite flyers around
to take the challenge. Various sizes of kites are on display
from the palm sized small ones to the huge 'Takhthe
ka patang'. 'Maanja', 'kheench', 'pench', 'dheel'
-- it's time for the 'Patang' talk. The charkas
get stripped of the thread as it is spun around the thumb
and the small finger in a fascinating style. Very striking
are the names too. A whole range is unfolded for the season
as kite enthusiasts jostle, push and indulge in hectic
bargain for their choicest stuff.
The Sankranthi festive occasion is really a fun-filled
one where all people starting from the common man to the
elite take part with lots of fun and frolic.
|- Gurrapu Srinivas