Sankranti is one of very important festivals of all Indian and particularly to Andhras. India depends on farming and cultivation of land to produce the paddy and pulses. It is a hansgiivng to all cattle and plows and the land. It is a celebration of harvesting and enjoyment of a break from hardwork. The farmers decorate the cattle and grannaries and the plows while welcoming Godess of weath and food into the house. The front of the houses are decored with colors (muggulu) and flowers to welcome Lakshmi and Goodwilll. As a children we used to have lot of fun during this season. Last day of the (cold season) month we make bonfire and girls decorate gobbis(gobemmalu) and dance.
Our farmer used to bring paddy, and all pulses (kandipappu, minapa, pesalu) and sugar cane and juice and sugarcane cakes from our farm. At one point we used to have 20-25 big bags of paddy stored in the house.Grand mother(s)/mother(s) used to decorate the cows and do puja for them. Young girls used to have bommala koluvu (display the stack of her dolls collection) and invite neighbors to see. We used to have sugarcane eating competions. Sankranti falls on 14 January of every year because the date follows Sun position unlike other indian festivals that follow lunar cycle.
Makar Sankranti marks the commencement of the Sun's journey to the Northern Hemisphere (Makara raasi ), signifying the onset of Uttarayana Punyakalam, and is a day of celebration all over the country. The day begins with people taking holy dips in the waters and worshipping the Sun(Godavari,krishna,Tungabadra). Traditionally, this period is considered an auspicious time and the veteran Bhishma of Mahabharata chose to die during this period. Bhishma fell to the arrows of Arjun. With his boon to choose the time of his death, he waited on a bed of arrows to depart from this world only during this period. It is believed that those who die in this period have no rebirth.
The Indo Gangetic plain begins this day with taking dips in the Ganga and offering water to the Sun god. The dip is said to purify the self and bestow punya. Special puja is offered as a thanksgiving for good harvest. According to folklore, girls who take the holy dip get handsome husbands and boys get beautiful brides.
In Karnataka, men, women and children attired in colourful tunics visit friends and relatives and exchange pieces of sugarcane, a mixture of fried til, molasses, pieces of dry coconut, peanuts and fried gram. The significance of this exchange is that sweetness should prevail in all the dealings. As part of the festival, cows and bulls are given a wash and the horns are painted with bright colours and decorated with garland, and are taken in a procession in the village to the accompaniment of pipes and drums. In the night a bonfire is lit and the animals are made to jump over the fire.
It is a big event for the Tamils and the people of Andhra Pradesh. The Telugus like to call it 'Pedda Panduga' meaning big festival. The whole event lasts for four days, the first day Bhogi, the second day Sankranti, the third day Kanuma and the fourth day, Mukkanuma. One month preceeding Sankranti is called Dhanurmasam and is also an auspicious period. People wake up early, take bath and go around the streets singing devotional songs. Houses are whitewashed and farmers clean their warehouses. Colorful rangoli (muggulu) are drawn in the front yards of every house 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. Colorfully dressed young girls go round them singing songs.
Sent by Mr.Deekshit Chavali