Sankranthi, the festival of Joy and Celebration is here. ?
Sankranthi is officially declared as the State festival of Andhra Pradesh and a festival celebrated through out India. People around the country celebrate the Harvest by thanking God and sharing the joy with family and friends. Here are the real special things that happen during the 4-day festival celebration.
1. KODI PANDAALU.
Literally translates to “Cock Fight”. Cocks are specially fed with Cashew nuts, almonds, taken utmost care and trained for the entire year by the local farmers just to participate on this occasion. Bets are made on the fights and it is known that crores of rupees change hands on the first 3 days of the festival. West Godavari District is famous for the Cock Fights. The Cock that lost the fight later ends up on your plate as chicken curry served with gaarelu on the day of mukkanuma (The 4th and the last day of the festival).
If you want to go visit the Cock Fights, you have to know someone from the coastal Andhra Pradesh. Its illegal by the way, yet celebrated every where. Its a must see Event.
2. BHOGI MANTALU.
This marks the first day of the festival. As a sign of discarding past and welcoming the future a bonfire is set using wooden logs in the late dawn of the day and gather and celebrate it by dancing around the fire till the morning. This act represents realization, transformation, and purification of the soul.
3. BOMMALA KOLUVU.
It is a customary wooden doll display held on the day of the main festival in front of rangoli. The dolls mainly come from the kondapalli doll industry and are usually made of teak wood or in some cases sandalwood. A part of the dolls are of lord Rama & Sita and a pretend marriage is conducted by children to these dolls and sweets are exchanged. This symbolizes the essence of celebration in life.
Rangoli is an art conducted on the floor on the front door and living room of every house. The muggu powder is made of colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. This event is meant to be sacred welcoming for the Hindu deities and asking them to bless the coming generations of the family. on one way it also helps in keeping both the art form and the tradition alive.
Balls made from cow dung are decorated on the muggu/rangoli which are designed to invite prosperity and bliss into the house Gobbemmalu are decorated with Pasupu (turmeric powder), Kumkuma (red vermilion powder) and with several other grains and flowers.
The gangireddu is a ceremonial bull that is trained in dance and capable of performing a few feats on the instructions of its handler. The gangireddu is decorated with bells and different colored clothes. The bull is accompanied by a haridasu and his assistants who handle the bull. The assistant is usually a boy or a teenager who dresses in a traditional attire and is called “budabukkolodu”. The families come and see the act of the gangireddu and donate clothes, rice, and money to the procession celebrating and sharing happiness.
7. HARI DAASU.
Haridasu’s are people of the Haridasu caste who are dresses in Narada muni attire with a big bowl on his head called Akshaya Patra, holds a musical instrument called Tambura and wears a Dhoti. These people travel on the streets along with the gangireddu in a nomadic fashion singing songs worshiping lord Vishnu and collecting food, money and clothes. Once they receive the donations the bless the donors by saying the word “Krishnarpanam” and they are considered powerful ad they will be on a “Deeksha” (holy lifestyle) the whole month.
Ariselu is one of the original Telugu sweets that were later introduced to the rest of South India. They are made from rice batter, Jaggery, ghee and are decorated with sesame seeds. They are first offered to god as a way to show gratitude for giving the crop.
Paramannam is a sweet made from the rice, jaggery, milk, ghee, dry fruits and nuts which are cooked on the fire stove which is made from the gobbemmalu from the previous day. By offering this to God, the devotees acknowledge the good things that come from God. Fresh milk from the farm cows is used in the making of paramannam.
After all, Sankranthi is a celebration of our connection with mother nature and the art of agriculture.
10. GAALI PATAALU.
The evenings of the festival days are celebrated by flying colored kites. Children divide into teams and play kites. kids with the torn kite lose.
11. BHOGI PALLU.
The fruits from the harvest regi pallu and sugar cane(Indian dates) are collected, along with flowers of the season, in a ceremony called Bhogi Pallu Money is often placed into a mixture of Bhogi Pallu, the mixture is poured over children and is blessed, they then collect the money and sweet fruit.
12. EDLA PANDAALU.
Edla pandalu involves bulls but contrary to kodi pandalu these bulls are not made to compete with each other via fighting. Edla pandalu involves sports activities like pulling a 2.5 ton rock or a running race. The winner bull and the owner gets honored. This called as one of the richest animal sports activities in India. It is said that it costs 50 lakh rupees per year to maintain an average sized bull. There are also beauty pageants conducted for cows ( Andaala potilu).
Don’t miss to watch this Amazing Video of the Sankranthi Special “Edla Pandaalu” (Bull Drag Race).
If you are reading this from a City, its time to close start to the Villages and Celebrate Sankranthi.
Celebrate it the real way.! Wish you all a wonderful Sankranthi.