Bhogi and Makara Sankranti celebrations in Andhra Pradesh


Festivals are a part of the culture and tradition of a region. Festivals are celebrated religiously as well as socially. Festivals add color to the other dull life. This article gives an insight into Bhogi and Sankrati, the most important festivals of Andhra Pradesh.

Introduction


Festival celebrations are a part of cultural and traditional life of the people of a region. There are several festivals that are celebrated religiously as well as socially in India. Festivals form a part of one's life and it is the time when people, keeping aside their day to day miseries of life, enjoy the most with their family and friends. In fact festival celebrations give a kind of relaxation to the mind and recharges it. A life without the festival celebrations would in fact be dull and lead one into a depressed state of mind. Hence celebrating festivals have their own significance and importance in life.

In Andhra Pradesh Bhogi Pandaga is the most important festival of the year and it is a four-day festival beginning with Bhogi, Sankranti, Kanuma and Mukkanuma. The first two days of the festival are very important compared to the second two days.

Bhogi Pandaga - the festival of Andhra Pradesh


Popularly known as Bhogi Panduga in Telugu language and it is celebrated on the 13 or 14 January every year which falls a day prior to Makara Sankranti day. Bhogi is basically a harvest festival and is celebrated in honor of Lord Indra - the God of Clouds and Rains - and special prayers are offered to Lord Indra for having an abundant harvest and thereby bringing prosperity to the land. Bhogi is a festival of family gathering and particularly it has become a tradition for all the daughters of the family to visit their parent's house along with their husbands and children. And it has become a compulsory for the newly wed daughters to visit their parents house along with their husband. And there is much of fun and fervor in the house when all the members of the family assemble for few days. It is in fact the most enjoyable period.

Lot of preparation is involved for the festival celebration well in advance. It is time for clearing all the clutter from the house, whitewashing the house, decorating the house and purchasing of clothes for the all the members of the family including the servants of the house. As this is the biggest festival of the year for the people of Andhra Pradesh, heavy discounts on most of the items, particularly, on clothes are available by the shop-keepers. And the shopping malls are heavily crowded with the shoppers. The important aspects of Bhogi pandaga are

  • Muthyaala Muggulu which are the colorful designs drawn on the floor, commonly known as rangoli.
  • Gobbillu the small balls made of cow dung that are placed on the rangolis.
  • Bhogi Mantalu the bonfire that is set generally in front of the house in the early hours of Bhogi day before sun rise.
  • Gangireddu and Basavanna the men who beg alms carrying a bull playing folk tunes on a sannai i.e, a clarinet.
  • Haridaasu also beg alms mostly rice grains and these men are very much different in their costume which resembles the costume of Naarada Muni.
  • Bhogi pallu a combination of local berries, coins, flowers, cut sugarcane and bengal gram soaked overnight are dropped on the babies from months babies to five years old babies of the house in a family social gathering called perantam in local language.
  • Bommala Koluvu one of the most important part of the festival celebrations in Andhra Pradesh.


Bhogi is the most awaited festival for the people of Andhra Pradesh as it is a festival which is enjoyed the most in the company of family and friends. Being a harvest festival, in villages special poojas are performed to even the farming tools like plough, oxen and the cattle in the yard as these form the main part of their livelihood. Bhogi is followed by Makara Sankranti which is equal in importance. It is the day when the Sun transits from the zodiac sign of Saggitarius to Cancer - from Dhanur Raasi to Makara Raasi and hence it is known as Makara Sankranti which is celebrated across the country.

A special kind of sweet rice called Chakkara Pongali is prepared on Makara Sankranti day with the new crops and is offered to Lord Indira. And the married women of the house perform special prayers to Goddess Lakshmi by offering her newly made turmeric powder, kumkum powder, beetel leaves, beetel nut, one or two fruits including new sugarcane pieces and locally available berries which is known as taamboolam in local language. And after that it is a tradition to distribute taamboolam to other married women folk in their community.

However, as a result of urbanization and modernization, the age old traditions of Andhra Pradesh are slowly fading and the newer generations hardly have seen or are aware of such a beautiful culture of the state. Yet there are a handful of newer generations who are very much accustomed to such a rich culture of Andhra Pradesh. And I think it is time for us to revive and protect our rich culture of various regions for the future generations to know of it.


Article by Kalyani
Kalyani is basically an educationist and presently a home-maker who is fruitfully utilizing her free time in freelancing, online content writing and above all blogging. She is an active lead editor at IndiaStudyChannel.com for over 2 years. She is an environmentalist who strives to protect the environment through the revival of age-old eco-friendly practices. She also strives to preserve the rich cultural heritage of India.

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