Beams of prosperity

Auspicious beginning

Traditional : Making pongal is a ritual that is followed during Sankranthi.

Sankranthi actually means ‘sacred change’ and according to the lunar calendar, when the sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, it commemorates the beginning of harvest season and also the end of inauspicious period.

It also heralds the spring season.

People from different regions celebrate the festival in their own way though distributing yellu bella and making pongal are common rituals.

Says Bharathi Prasad, a homemaker, “Sankranthi for us is all about ushering in fresh and new hopes by exchanging yellu bella, and as the saying goes Yellu bella tindu, olle mathanadi, which means eat the mixture of sesame seeds and jaggery and speak only good’. Every year we leave behind the bad memories and look forward to good times in the days to come.”  

For Sheela Ramesh, another homemaker, the festival is a grand affair. “We have a special puja in the morning where we invite people and perform puja of the pumpkin. It is believed that Lord Shiva resides in it and one will earn a lot of goodwill if it is donated to the priest. We also make the traditional sweet and salt pongal and offer it to deity,” she says.

People also find it a good occasion to meet family and friends. “In a city like Bangalore where people hardly find time to talk or meet, Sankranthi is the time to exchange yellu bella and express love and affection to near and dear ones,” says Shobha, a school teacher. While most people prefer to celebrate the festival at home, others, especially those staying away from families, like to visit their hometown.

Shubha K S, a software professional says, “I usually visit my parents in Mysore and spend some good time with my family and relatives. The baley yele oota, the traditional meal eaten on plantain leaf, is always a part of this festival and all of us have lunch together.”

Harvesting goodwill

Some of the items used in Sankranthi and their significance

* Diyas made of sesame seed and black cloth are lit before God. It welcomes the light dispelling darkness. People also believe that it delivers from their sins.

* A mixture of sesame seeds, jaggery, groundnuts and dry coconut is offered to
Sun God  for good health.

* Sugarcane and sakkare achchu (sugar moulds), which have replaced jaggery moulds,  made in different shapes, are also offered.

* Paddy and other grains are offered to God for a good harvest.

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