How to celebrate Bhogi Sankranti Pongal

Like any other festival , Bhogi and Sankranti are celebrated in different ways in different states.  Celebrations and traditions vary across families too as we see .  Celebration of festivals , the customs and traditions differ between our maternal home and our in-laws home also.

I would like to share how I celebrate these two festivals.

How to celebrate Bhogi

Kolam is an important part of any festival and more so in Rangolisansdots.  So first I would  like share the kolam, I drew for Bhogi.  It is a type of padi kolam or lines rangoli design.  This lines kolam starts with a Krishnan dindu design as it is called.  After drawing the rangoli with white rangoli , add colourful lines in the gaps to complete the kolam.  Lotuses on four sides adds to the ambiance of the festive spirit


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Since we live in Tamil Nadu we prepare Venn Pongal on Bhogi festival.  There is also the traditional  mixed vegetable curry called Bhogichi Bhaji also called Goth Bhaji where we have all fresh vegetables cut and cooked separately ( not in a cooker ).  A freshly ground powder with dhania , gram dhal, red chilly and fenugreek is added to enhance  the flavour.  Usually pooris are made for this side dish.  I understand from my elders that those days all the relatives used to assemble in the main house of the family and they brought with them fresh vegetables grown during the season and this dish was prepared with all the vegetables.  Goth also means  kin.

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How to celebrate Sankranti  or Pongal

This kolam is with a 21 to 11 dot grid .  The beauty of this kolam is the claws that are drawn with curved lines.  This kolam has been drawn by my maternal  grandmother .  I understand that my mother learnt  from her.  So it is quite an old and ancient rangoli design.  I remember the Sankranti celebrations  when my mother used to draw this and we sisters helped her with the colours .  We started early in the morning during  Sankranti festival.  Our father prepared coffee for all of us and served on a tray !

The claws represent the claws of a scorpion or tiger .  So it is also called Mandrakappa in Telugu and Puli Nagam kolam in Tamil.  

The colours are bright and beautiful and I get them from Nagpur where my elder sister resides.

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Sweet Pongal or Sakkarai Pongal is an important recipe for Pongal.  While this festival is celebrated in a grand manner in villages.  We lived in a small town called Omalur near Salem , so we also celebrated it in a grand way with Pongal prepared in the open with lots of kolam decorating the area and offering prayers to the Sun God after Pongal preparation, shouting Pongalo Pongal !

In a city , we may not have this liberty still to maintain the tradition I clean the kitchen counter and the gas stove.  I draw a kolam with a piece of chalk or rice flour.  Kolam powder is to be avoided near the gas stove because some particles may fall in the food that we cook.

I use a vessel called uruli , apply turmeric powder and kumkum and make chakkara Pongal in the vessel.

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Til gul for Sankranti


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Roast white sesame seeds , dry roast , allow it to cool.  Mix roasted peanuts with skin removed from them.  Add fried gram and pieces of dried coconut.  To make it more attractive and colourful what is called jeera sweets that are in the shape of rice grains are added.  Choose a reputed brand so that the colours used may be edible.  Traditionally small pieces of jaggery are added  hence the name , til gul which literally means sesame and jaggery.  I have added sugar.

After offering this for Puja.  The elders in the family offer to the younger generation and bless them saying Til Gul gheva, goad goad bola ( Take Til Gul and utter sweet words )

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This is a traditional offering to women , neighbours or relatives.  Traditionally it was given in a pot.
In this modern era , we can purchase a plastic container , apply lime stone paste and kumkum.
It is filled with betel leaves , nuts , coconut , sugar piece , rice , jaggery , tamarind , salt , toor dhal , blouse piece with dakshina.  We also add til gul , and ezhanda pazaham called bora in Marathi ( jujube in English ).

After the Puja it is offered to a relative who is invited for the Puja or to one of our neighbours.

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