The first day of 4-day festival Makara Sankranthi (Pongal) is celebrated as the Bhogi. The theme of these festivals is thanksgiving to nature and gods who blessed people with a good harvest. This day is celebrated as Lohri in Panjab.
Significance of Bhogi Festival
The significance of this festival is winter crop season celebrations and remembrance of the deity Sun. People welcome the Sankranthi (Utharayan) on the next day with the warm atmosphere, when the sun enters into Utharayan from Dakshinayan.
The festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Indra who is the God of Clouds, Rains and Nature. Lord Indra is worshiped for the abundance of harvest, thereby bringing plenty and prosperity to the land.
Rituals on Bhogi
The day starts with the bonfire (bhogi mantalu) in the early hours of the morning (Before Sunrise). The contents of this bonfire are the waste material cleaned up from the home and cow dung cakes (pidakalu).
Girls dance around the Bhogi mantalu by singing songs in praise of the gods.
During this entire festive season, women decorate the entrances of the house (Vakili or front porch) with rangoli (muggu or kolam) of varied hues and sizes and place small balls made from cow dung and decorated with pumpkin flowers (Gobbemmalu) in the center.