The changing face of Sankranthi

The changing face of Sankranthi

Fading colour

Due to the changing nature of the agricultural sector, the sankranthi festival has also witnessed changes over the years and has lost its charm of the bygone years.

Twenty years ago if there were hundred houses in a village, at least 80 houses had a pair of bullocks. Today tractors and trailors has entered the agricultural field. Today it would be difficult to find even 20 pairs of bullocks in most villages.

Today due to the milk revolution, jersey cows have taken the place of bullocks. Normally the festival is observed only on one day in a village. But in recent times animal races are held on different days. In many villages of the taluk two sankranthi festivals are held for trivial reasons. Only one festival is held where the villagers obey and listen to their elders.

If a person belonging to a dominant community dies on the festival day, the festival is postponed to a later day.

In Mulbagal town, thirty years ago, Sankranthi was celebrated with great fanfare. However, due to a couple of communal clashes in the past people do not show much interest in the festivities. However, in recent times the leaders of different communities jointly celebrated the festival under police security.

In Srinivaspur
Sankranthi is celebrated in the lap of the mango land. Cattle get recognition during the festivities. Here they call it “Cattle festival.”  Every village celebrate the festival on the day which is convenient to them and not necessarily on the same day. Since a sacrifice of a fowl is made to Katinga raya, the festival in not held on a Saturday of Monday. The rest of the weekdays the villages celebrate the festival.

On the festival day the cattle of the village is given a holiday from work. The bullock is given a bath and fodder and its horns are decorated. Even colourful balloons are tied to the horns. A garment adorns its body and it is taken in a procession along with other bullocks. Even buffaloes are not forgotten on the occasion and the same treatment is given to them.

The bullocks of the village assemble near a temple and women worship them. Sometimes in some villages guns are fired in the air to frighten the bullocks. Sometimes the farmers are doused in water. These rituals take place till afternoon.

In the evening the cows are assembled near the shrine of a Kattinga Raya. They are made to jump over a bonfire. The gods which protect the cattle are offered the sacrifice of fowl.

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