Across India, various states celebrate the start of a new year and pay reverence to the Gods for their blessings and plentiful crops. Each state has a unique and colourful way to welcome another fruitful year.
Out with the old, in with the new is the essence of Pongal. The four-day fiesta starts on the first day of the Tamil month Thai with Bhogi, then Surya Pongal ollowed by Mattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal. Delicious rice and lentil dish, also called Pongal, is made and prayers are offered to the Sun God. Village fairs and Jallikattu tournaments invite families across the district for fun and revelry. People visit local tourist sites and temples adorning their new clothes with family and friends.
Go for a heritage walk around the by lanes near Kapaleshwar temple and check the intricate and elaborate Kolam designs on the streets.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Makar Sankranti celebrates the harvest season and transit of the Sun into Makara Rashi.People take holy dips in rivers and pray for prosperity. Colourful artwork called Muggulu decorate houses and streets. Rice and jaggery or Bellam delicacies are made and shared with neighbours. Karnataka also celebrates Sankranti with special sesame seed sweets made with jaggery.
Trek up to Kanakamahalakshmi temple on the banks of Krishna. Also visit Sir Arthur CottonBarrage Rajahmundry at sunset.
Lohri and Maghi mark the end of the winter solstice and harvest of Rabi crops across northern India. Bonfires are lit and people sing and dance to folk music celebrating the end of the winter months. Newly married couples and newborn households hold special prayers and festivities.
Visit the wholesale kite market in Amritsar and find kites of innumerable designs, colours and sizes.
Magh Bihu is one of Assam’s harvest festivals which commemorate the end of the harvest season. People gather and have bonfires to honour the God of Fire and ancestors. Youngsters make temporary bamboo huts where they spend the night with friends and burn it in the morning. Rice cakes cooked with sesame and jaggery and other traditional rural preparations are made and shared with neighbours.
Don’t miss out on the Bihu dance programs held in the famed Kamakya Temple along the banks of Brahmaputra in Guwahati.
Sankranti is celebrated in many parts of India with indigenous customs and traditions. It signals the end of a harsh winter and the blossoming of spring and New Beginnings. Though in the last two years, celebrations have been somber, nothing can beat the spirit of the people.
Editor’s note: Kindly follow covid protocols for a safe celebration