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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is a Festival spread over 4 Days and celebrated with great Fervour in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab & Haryana.
Uttarayana marks the transition of the Sun from ‘Dhanu Rasi’ (Sagittarius) to ‘Makara Rasi’ (Capricorn) which means the Northern Movement of Sun. The Festival Period starts when the Sun moves from Dakshanayana to Uttaryana which is why the Sankranti has the word 'Makar' as a Prefix
Day 1- Bogi
At Dawn, Family gets together, Waste Materials are Burned in a Bonfire called Bogi Mantalu, Homes are Thoroughly Cleaned & Whitewashed prior to the Festival.
Day 2- Makar Sankranti
On this Big Festival (Pedda Pandaga) Day, Family gets up Early Morning, Bathe, Wear New Clothes, Make Colorful Designs outside Home (Muggulu/Kolam/Rangoli), Pray to Sun God, Boil Milk Spilling Over in a New Clay Pot indicating Good Luck and Prosperity, make Traditional Offerings to Deceased Ancestors, and Prepare Pongal outside their Homes. Kite Flying
Day 3- Kanuma/Mattu Pongal
The Bonfire (Bhogi Mantalu) symbolizes embracing New by Discarding the Old like Replacing the Old Brooms, Wooden Baskets, Clothes, Junk, Firewood, Broken/Damaged Wooden Furniture with New. Old stuff is thrown in the Fire which Signifies the Cleansing of the Home just like we Cleanse our Body on Daily Basis & Take a Fresh Start to the New Year!
There is a Popular Saying in Telugu that "Kanuma Roju Kaaki Kuda Talaa Munugutunidi!". If translated, this means that on the Kanuma Day even a Crow takes a Dip & Bathes from Head to Toe!
This Day Andhrites Feast on the Urad Dal Festival Preparations like Medu Vada/Menapappu Garelu, Special
Day 4- Mukkanuma is the Last Day of the Sankranti Celebrations which is Special for the Non vegetarians as they get to Feast on their Favorite Delicacies
In Andhra & Tamilnadu, The Spicy & Sweet Pongal is Traditionally prepared in the Newly Bought Customary Clay Pot with Fresh Turmeric and Ginger tied around the Pot. But due to the lack of Time, Space, Adequate Preparation Items, the Festive Food is prepared in Stainless Steel or Metal Ware on Gas Stoves nowadays.
In Orissa, a Feast called Makar Chaula (Uncooked New Harvest of Rice, Banana, Coconut, Jaggery, Sesame, Rasgulla, Khoi & Chenna Preparations) is prepared on Sankranti

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