What is Sankraanthi?
Sankraanthi is the starting season of Harvesting
Trees, plants and the nature are exposed to the rainy season, fall(Autumn), biting cold and the freezing temparature that normally exists in the DakshiNaayana.
The UththaraayaNa welcomes the spring season. The weather, the season, the harvest, the good health that man enjoys, the grains that is produced from so many yields after hard work etc are all the characteristics of the UththaraayaNa. That is why it is named as “PuNyakaala”.
DakshNaayana is called PitrugaLa kaala and UttaraayaNa as DevathegaLa kaala.
“Ayana” means Movement. Path. The sun who was leaning towards dakshiNa will start changing his path towards UthThara. He rises up and up making the day more and night less.
It is the harvest festival when farmers worship the sun as well as their cattle by way of thanks giving for the harvest
In Tamilnadu, this festival goes by the name “Pongal”. In Andhra it is being celebrated as ” Pedda Panduga” and In North it is celebrated as “ Kanoo Habba”
The celebrating style differs from state to state
Tham Sooryam Jagath Karthaaram
It is also the day on which Soorya enters Makara Raashi leaving the Dhanur Rashi which is called Sankraanthi.
NiRNaya Sindhu says like this:
Thasyaam krishNa Thilai Snaanam
Kaaryam chodvarthanam ShuBhai
Thilaa Deyaashcha VipreBhyO
Thila ThailEna Deepaashcha
Deyaa Devagrihe ShuBhaah||
VishNu Dharma says:
Tila poorNa manaDwaahaM
DattwaarOgyaH pramuchyatE ||
From the above quotes it is clear that on this festival, one should take bath with black sesame seed (Ellu), Ellu should be given as Dana. At temples one should lit Deepam with Sesame oil.
If one performs Daana- Dharma on the UththaraayaNa puNyakaala day, the saying is that Soorya Bhagawaan would protect always us for many Janmaas. On this day importance is given to Thila dhaana, thila Homa, Thila BhakShaNa
How to celebrate?
In general, Tamilnadu and Karnataka celebrates this festival for 2 to 3 days
Day 1 : Bhogi
The houses are cleane up and newly painted(If possible). Unwanted things are disposed and burnt.
The celebration further enhances with Preparing habbadha adige and sharing the joy with family and friends.
It is a special ritual to be performed on the Bhogi evening.
Children aged 5 and below in the house are dressed up in ornaments made of Kusuri Kalu (a white colored candy) and are made to sit in the wooden plank.
A mixture of puffed rice, Silver/Gold items, sugarcane pieces, coins are mixed and gradually poured over their head (this mixture is also called ‘Bhogi Pandlu’).
At the end Araathi is performed and it is important to perform this event for the little ones to protect from evil forces
Day 2: Sankranthi
The puja is performed when the Sun enters Makara Rashi. Usually it is performed after sunrise.
- A mixture of Yellu bella (Sesame Seeds, Jaggery, Groundnuts, Fried Gram and Coconut)
- Sakkare Achchu
- Kusuri Kalu/Sesame Seeds coated with sugar
- Sakkare Pongal
Girls(Kids and Teenagers)wear new clothes in the evening and visit friends, family and relatives with a Sankranthi Yellu bella in a plate, and exchange the same with other families. This ritual is called ‘Yellu Beerodu’.
Ingredients of Yellu bella: ‘Yellu’ (white sesame seeds) mixed with roasted groundnuts, cut dry coconut & Jaggery. The plate also contains Sakkare Achchu with a piece of sugarcane.
Dhana to be given by Newly married women
Newly married woman gives bananas, coconut, sugar cane piece, red berries, betel leaves, betel nuts, dhakshina, arshina kumkuma for a period of 5 years to other married women (‘muthaidhe’) from the first year of her marriage, with an increase in the number of bananas in multiples of five, every year.