December is considered to the “holiday season” of the western world, but we Indians are not far behind you in that aspect. With the oncoming of one of the most important festivals South India this January, I thought I might as well give my readers a taste of Indian Culture by telling you a little about Sankranti. Considering that agriculture is the heart of Indian industry, it is no surprise that this harvest festival is important to a majority of the population of the country.
The festival mainly consists of a four day procession
This is the day when everyone collects old belongings and burns them in public, signifying realization and the push away of bad habits. In addition, infants and young children are showered with fruits which is said to ward off the “evil eye.”
It is the day when we pay tribute to our ancestor by offering food, flowers, and clothes. Everyone celebrates with family and friends, wearing new clothes. They also make beautiful and ornate drawings and patterns on the ground with chalk or flour, called “muggu” or “Rangoli” in Telugu, in front of their homes. These drawings are decorated with flowers, colours and small hand pressed piles of cow dung, called “gobbemma (గొబ్బెమ్మ)”.
This is the day of feasting , dedicated to the re-union of the family, which is why traveling is considered inauspicious on that day. Various rice dishes, and flour sweets are prepared and distributed among family members. Animals in particulars and treated with pooja and are revered.
Fourth day is called Mukkanuma (ముక్కనుమ) which is popular among the non-vegetarians of the society. On this day, Farmers offer the prayers to the elements like soil, rain, fire for helping the harvest, and the village goddesses with their gifts which sometimes include animals.
Throughout the month, we see the sky dotted with kites – kites of all colors dance in the air. In fact the most famous public event in my home town, Hyderabad, is the kite festival and competition, in which people from the entire world compete in.
On this holiday season, I wish all my reader across the world a very, very HAPPY SANKRANTI.