Bhogi Festival Celebrations in Andhra Pradesh
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasions for the Hindus, celebrated in almost all parts of the country in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour & gaiety. It is a harvest festival. Makar Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day every year on 14th of January.
Sankranthi is an important festival observed by Telugu people in Andhra Pradesh. It is quite similar to the Pongal Festival observed in Tamil Nadu and other parts of India. Sankranti, the colourful Telugu harvest festival, was celebrated with gaiety and traditional fervour as a three day festival in Andhra Pradesh.
Bogi festival is the first day of Sankranti celebrations in Andhra Pradesh in the honor of Lord Indra, “the God of Clouds and Rains” is also known as Indran (bhogi). Legends say that on this day that Lord krishna lifted the Gobardhan mountains on his little finger.
Lord Indra is worshiped for the abundance of harvest, thereby bringing plenty and prosperity to the land. On Bhogi all people clean out their homes from top to bottom, and collect all unwanted goods. This day is meant for domestic activities and of being together with the family members.
All the houses from the richest to the humblest are thoroughly scrubbed and whitewashed. Homes are cleaned and decorated with rangolis. Women folks set cow-dung balls called as Gobbemma and placed among the rangoli patterns. And put fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane which are brought from the field as preparation for the following day.
Bhogi Mantalu, is another ritual observed on Bhogi festival day, when useless household articles are thrown into a fire made of wood and cow-dung balls. This bonfire is mainly made out of old clothes, files, mats and rugs etc. The event of putting the junk on the fire is called the Bhogi Neruppu (Bhogi fire).
Girls dance around the bonfire, singing songs in praise of the gods, the spring and the harvest. The significance of the bonfire, in which is burnt the agricultural wastes and firewood is to keep warm during the last lap of winter. After the Bhogi Mantalu people take oil bath and wear new cloths.
In Andhra Pradesh this day is celebrated by girls burning their old clothes and wearing the new ones after an oil massage and bath. Haridasus’ and ‘Basvannas’ attired in their traditional go around the streets giving performances and singing songs for the small offering made to them by citizens.
In the evening on the day of Bhogi festival in Andhra Pradesh elders showers Bhogi Pallu on kids with the main purpose of worshipping Lord Vishnu for better health of their kids.
Many of the traditional sankranti sweets and savouries will be prepared in Andhra Pradesh as ariselu, bobattulu, jantikulu, paalakaayulu, semai payasam, paramannam, pulihora, masala vada and many more recipes.