Hyderabad/Vijayawada, Jan 13 (IANS) Sankranti festival began on Friday in the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with pomp and gaiety.
The three-day celebrations kicked off with ‘Bhogi’ on the first day. Towns and villages in both the states came alive with people setting bonfires on the streets with agricultural and household waste.
Sankranti is a major harvest festival of Telugu people. Thousands employed in Hyderabad headed to their homes in towns and villages. Telugu people working abroad are also visiting their families.
The celebrations began in the early hours of the day with people cleaning their houses and burning old items in the belief that new things would usher into their lives.
People gathered at street corners early in the day and lit up a fire called ‘Bhogi’ in which unwanted goods like old clothes, mats and broom sticks were burnt.
Men, women and children went around the bonfires with prayers. Some sang and danced.
Villages wore a festive look with women decorating the entrances of their houses with intricate ‘rangoli’ designs. Young men took to kite flying.
After thoroughly cleaning their houses, women set cow-dung balls called ‘Gobbemma’ and placed it among the rangoli patterns. They also put a fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane.
The houses were decorated with marigold flowers and mango leaves.
‘Haridasus’ and ‘Basvannas’, the uniquely attired alm seekers with ornately decorated ox, made rounds of the villages.
The families, after offering prayers in temples, prepare various dishes, especially Pongal — made of rice and daal. Decoration of bulls, cock-fight, bull fight and other rural sports mark the festival.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu took part in Sankranti celebrations in Vijayawada.
Accompanied by his cabinet colleagues and top officials, he participated in ‘bhogi’.
The Chief Minister also flew a kite and played rural sports like ‘gilli-danda’ and ‘goti’.