The festival of harvest

The festival of harvest
In Karnataka, the festival of Sankranthi is significant in many ways. The day is considered auspicious and the festival is associated with the harvest season. The festival is regarded as an occasion to express our gratitude to nature. In rural areas, the festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. The harvested food grains are arranged in heaps and are offered puja.

The cattle in the backyard, mainly the pair of oxen, are given bath and decorated with colourful clothes and flowers. Their horns are painted with bright paint. In the evening, they are made to jump over the pit of fire. In the urban areas, the celebration assumes a different style. The Sankranthi festival is specially known for a mixture called ‘Sankranthi ellu’. The women in the household begin the preparations months in advance of the festival. The Sankranthi ellu is a mixture of sesame, dry coconut, groundnut, jaggery and a crispy ingredient known as hurikadale. These items are purchased well in advance and dried in the sunlight. On the day of the festival, when all the ingredients are mixed in right proportions, the Sankranthi ellu is ready. It is the Sun God who is worshipped on this day as he heralds the change of seasons.

In the evening, women and young girls visit their friends, neighbours and relatives to exchange the Sankranthi ellu. Along with ellu, tiny sugar candy items known as sakre achchu and pieces of sugarcane are also distributed. In Kannada, there is a saying “Ellu-bella thindu olle maathu aadi,” which means be good at heart after eating this healthy mixture of ellu and jaggery.

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