On this occassion I would like to share about Makara Sankranti. Let us know, what is Makara Sankranti, Bhogi, Kanuma, Mukkunama, Why it is celebrated, Special foods made on this day, How it is celebrated in Andhra pradesh & celebrations in Hyderabad.
Makara Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasions and is celebrated in almost all parts of India in a myriad of cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour, and gaiety. It is a harvest festival. Makara Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day every year: 14 January, with some exceptions, when the festival is celebrated on 13 January or 15 January. Makara Sankranti is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India.
Makara Sankranti is the day when the Sun begins its movement away from the tropic of Capricorn and towards the northern hemisphere and thus it signifies an event wherein the Sun-God seems to remind their children that ‘Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya’—may you go higher and higher, to more and more Light and never to Darkness.
The Sun stands for knowledge, spiritual light and wisdom. Makara Sankranti signifies that we should turn away from the darkness of delusion in which we live, and begin to enjoy a new life with bright light within us to shine brighter and brighter. We should gradually begin to grow in purity, wisdom and knowledge even as the Sun does from the Day of Makara Sankranti.
The festival of Makara Sankranti is highly regarded by the Hindus from north to south. The day is known by various names and a variety of traditions are witnessed as one explores the festival in different states.Owing to the vast geography and diversity of culture in India, this festival is celebrated for innumerable reasons and in innumerable ways depending on the climate, agricultural environment, cultural background and location. On this day Children as well as grownups fly kites right from early morning till late in the evening on this day.
Traditions, rituals and celebration in Andhra Pradesh:
The festival, Sankranti , is celebrated for four days in Andhra Pradesh as below:
• Day 1 – Bhogi
• Day 2 – Makara Sankranti – the main festival day
• Day 3 – Kanuma
• Day 4 – Mukkanuma
The day preceding Makara Sankranti is called Bhogi and this is when people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. At dawn people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful. The disposal of derelict things is where all old habits, the vices, attachment to relations and materials things are sacrificed in the sacrificial fire of the knowledge of Rudra, known as the “Rudra Gita Gyana Yagya. It represents realization, transformation and purification of the soul by imbibing and inculcating divine virtues.
In many families, infants and children (usually less than three years old) are showered with fruit called “Regi Pandlu”, that is the Indian jujube fruit.It is believed that doing this would protect the children from evil eye. Sweets in generous quantities are prepared and distributed. It is a time for families to congregate. Brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts as affirmation of their filial love. Landlords give gifts of food, clothes and money to their workforce.
The second day is Makara Sankranti, also called “Pedda Panduga”, which literally means “the big festival”, when everyone wears new clothes, prays to God, and make offerings of traditional food to ancestors who have died. They also make big and beautiful muggu (ornate drawings done in chalk on the ground) in front of their homes and they decorate the muggu with flowers, colours and sparkle colours.
On the day after Makara Sankranti, the animal kingdom is remembered and in particular, the cows. Young girls feed the animals, birds and fishes as a symbol of sharing. Travel is considered to be inappropriate, as these days are dedicated for re-union of the families. Sankranti in this sense demonstrates their strong cultural values as well as a time for change and transformation. And finally, gurus seek out their devotees to bestow blessings on them.
It is not as widely celebrated, but is an integral part of the Sankranti culture. Mukkanuma is popular among the non-vegetarians of the society.
People in Coastal Andhra do not eat any meat or fish during the first three days of the festival, and do so only on the day of Mukkanuma, whereas people in Telangana region observe only the first two days as part of the festival. They eat rice cooked with til (sesame seeds) on the first day and eat meat on Makara Sankranti, the second day of the festival. For this festival all families prepare 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.
This festival Sankranti is celebrated in almost every village and town with adventurous games in South India. Whether it is the cock fights in Andhra, Bull fighting in Tamil Nadu or Elephant Mela in Kerala, there is huge amount of illegal betting but the so-called “tradition” continues to play a major role in the festival.
Another notable feature of the festival in South India is the Haridasa who goes early in the morning around with a colourfully dressed cow, singing songs of Lord Vishnu (Hari) hence the name Haridasu (servant of Hari). It is a custom that he should not talk to anyone and only sing songs of lord vishnu when he goes to everyones house.
Celebrations in Hyderabad:
People of all ages from children to teenagers, young men and women to grandmothers and grandfathers, were seen on terraces, grounds, open places like Necklace road not only with kites and manjhas but also with MP3 players and loudspeakers to play their favourite music. Children and teenagers were the most enthusiastic as they were spotted on terraces since early morning getting things ready for the festival.
In many areas in this Historical city, girls and women were also seen flying kites and snapping the manjhas of rivals kites.Kite flyers were happy with the direction of the wind, there were lots of snacks coming in to cheer them up, including Sankranti special delicacies like Ariselu, appalu, choorma, tikadey, til ke laddoo, dal ke pakore and feeni.
Since the tradition of kite flying is seen maximum in few areas like Dhoolpet, Begumbazaar, Laldarwaja etc., one could see at least a dozen kites being flown by members of one family from the same terrace.
On many terraces, some family members were participating in kite flying as commentators. The moment their family members would snap the manjha of another kite, they would announce it on the loud speaker. I celebrated Sankranti after 6long years..Had loads of fun with my friends by cruising in the city,flying kites and eating all the delicious foods..;)