Sankranti: When Old Traditions Come Alive
Sankranti, also known as Pongal, is a four-day celebration that marks the transition of the Sun on its celestial path.
The first day of the celebrations begins with Bhogi. On this day, people decide to focus on what’s important, the new things that will help them to transform for the better. They discard their old and derelict things in a sacrificial bonfire. This culture represents leaving behind bad habits, vices, attachment to relations and material things and walking towards realization, transformation, and purification of the soul.
The first day also sees a tradition called Bhogi Pandlu which is a special mixture of gooseberries, sugarcane, and rice. Here, the children are dressed up in new clothes and are given Bhogi Pandlu to protect them from evil forces.
The second day of Sankranti celebrations is dedicated to agriculture. This period is when the crops that have been sown with immense hard work are mostly over. Makar Sankranti signifies socializing with family by flying kites and celebrating their successful financial year by worshipping the Sun God.
During the second day, beautiful ornate drawing and patterns are drawn on the ground with chalk and flour called ‘muggu’ or ‘rangoli’. These drawings are further decorated with flowers and small, hand-pressed piles of cow dung known as ‘Gobbemma’. Gobbemma has scientific uses, as it is made of turmeric and cow dung; it keeps the environment worm-free.
The third day of Sankranti is celebrated by dedicating the day to cows, bull and oxen. On this day the cattle are bathed and decorated with paint and ornaments. During this procession, the healthiest cattle are used as they showcase a farmer’s grandeur. Rituals are performed on these cattle in the form of worshipping them, by taking them to nearby temples.
The last day of Sankranti is celebrated by dedicating the day to feasting and merrymaking. It is a day of spending quality time with family without any major rituals or pujas. In present days, this day is usually left out and isn’t celebrated.