SANKRANTI is an important festival for Telugus and people in rural Andhra look forward to this harvest festival, which has diverse attractions for different people. With crops harvested people have both wealth and leisure to make merry with.
This is the festival of peasants. It is celebrated when the sun passes from Sagittarius to Capricorn & the changeover is called
Makara Sankranthi. A month before the festival the harvesting of crops begins.
The first day is called as Bhogi. On this day before sunrise youngsters collect dry twigs, grass, waste paper etc., make a heap & light a bonfire. Women and girls draw patterns on the ground using mortar powder. They make
Gobbemmas i.e., lumps of cowdung and place it on the drawings in front of their houses. People pick up some ash from the bhogi fire & rub it on their foreheads.
The special dish of the day is Pongal, a mixture of husked greengram and rice with salt and pepper powder cooked in a pot.
The second day is the actual Sankranthi day. In the evening men & women go to their
neighbours and relatives to offer sesame seeds, sugar & sugarcane pieces.
Kanumu the third day is celebrated as a cattle festival. On this day the peasants wake up early to bathe their cattle & paint their horns with bright colors and tie bells around their necks. Some farmers go out to their fields, sacrifice a goat or a sheep and sprinkle the blood in their fields. Still some others take cooked rice and milk to the
cattleshed offer some of it to the cattle and take the remainder to their fields and scatter it there. They believe that this offering keeps the ghosts away from their crops. In the villages on this day cockfights are held.