India is an agricultural as well as a festival country where people across the nation take pride in celebrating various festivals including harvest festivals.
Farmers, according to Vedas, have been compared to Lord Brahma, the creator, because they create grains and other food by planting and cultivating crops.
So be it Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal or Nabanna, all are harvesting festivals, which convey the same message that despite different languages and lifestyles, we are actually the same when it comes to fraternity and the spirit of oneness.
Lohri is a celebration of the winter crop season and the worship of the deity Sun usually celebrated to mark the end of the chilling winter and welcome the longer summer days. Another tale associated with Lohri is that of Dhulla Batti, a local Punjabi hero who rescued young girls from being sold to slavery during the reign of Mughal Emperor, Akbar.
It is celebrated with a bonfire. Traditionally, people believe the flames of the bonfire carry the prayers of the people to the deity Sun to bring warmth to help the crops grow. Families gather around the bonfire and sing folk songs whilst dancing around the bonfire (girls performing gidda while boys play the dhol). Gajak and popcorn etc. are thrown into the bonfire. Gajak and Gurh sweets are key items cooked as sugarcane and corn are the largest producing crops in January.
In Jammu, Lohri is a special festival where children perform Hiran dances with their friends and families and also prepare a replica of a peacock called Chajja and take this with them when visiting other homes celebrating this warm harvest festival.
Makar Sankranti or Sankranti is an auspicious occasion dedicated to the Sun. It marks the date from which the Lord Sun changes its direction, travelling towards the North in the Maghi month of January. It is also known as Uttarayan and many Hindu people begin the day by taking a dip in holy rivers i.e. Ganga and Yamuna etc. where the belief is that bathing in these holy rivers will wash away their past sins and give them a chance to thank the Lord for their prosperity.
In most parts of India, this is part of the early stages of the agricultural cycle, where crops have been sown and majority of the hard work in the fields is over. Therefore, it calls for a social celebration among close family and friends. Kites are flown all over the sky with full enthusiasm by children and adults with many competing against one another. Families make delicious laddos of til (sesame) and gur (jaggery), chikkies and puran poli - these sweets symbolise purity and joy.
While celebrations vary from state to state, the general gist of this day is to come together with pure hearts and celebrate with great joy.
Pongal or Thai Pongal is a holy festival for harvesting by the Tamil community, which is usually celebrated on 14th January and dedicated to Hindu God, Surya. The term "Pongal" means "to boil, overflow" and refers to the dish prepared using rice and gurh (jaggery). Pongal is typically celebrated across 3 days but some celebrate a 4th day too.
On Bhogi Pongal (Day 1), households are cleaned by discarding old and unwanted items in a fire. They then decorate their homes and wear new outfits to mark the occasion. In villages, the horns of oxes and buffaloes are painted.
On Surya Pongal (Day 2), the front yard or veranda of homes is decorated with kolam or rangoli.
The Pongal dish is made in a mud pot in an open space in the view of the sun. As the milk starts to bubble, people chant, Pongalo Pongal which means "may this rice boil over", thereby symbolising prosperity in the forthcoming year. The dish is offered to Gods and Goddesses as well as cows in villages.
On Mattu Pongal (Day 3), the celebrations largely focus around appreciating the importance of animals as sources of wealth i.e. providing dairy products and assisting in agriculture. On this auspicious day, to honour their importance, cattle are decorated with flower garlands and are worshipped as well as offered special food.
On Kanum Pongal (Day 4), marks the end of the Pongal festival and consists of families and friends visiting one another.
Nabanna or traditionally known as Nobanna in Bengali is a rice harvesting festival which is celebrated with food, dance and music in Bangladesh as well as some Indian States, including West Bengal, Assam and Tripura.
Bengal's farmers offer the first grains to Goddess Lakshmi all the while thanking her for all the blessings. This is one of the festivals that gave the name "Baro mase tero parban” to the land of Bengal. Another custom includes offering rice to crows and it is believed the flight at which the crow flies determines the amount of prosperity the people will receive in the forthcoming year. It does not qualify as a state holiday in India but is one in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Edited by Yuvika_15 - 5 days ago
To mark the harvest celebrations, the crazy creatives are here with a fun game to play...
So what are you all waiting for?... let's play Antakshari!
In case you have been living under a rock for like forever, the way to play this game is simple... Member A posts the first few lines of a song and the next member has to post the first few lines of a song using the last letter of the previous song.
Still don't understand? Ok, here is an example...
Member A: Mere bhole balam, mere pyare balam,
mera jeevan tere bina, o mere piya, hai vo diya
jis mein tel na ho, jis mein tel na ho
next person sing a song beginning with O
Member B: O o jaane jaana,
dhoonde tujhe deewana
sapno mein roz aaye
aa zindagi mein aana sanam
next member sings a song beginning with M and so on....
Ready? Ok so here's the lyrics to the first song:
Lo aa gayi lode ve aaha
bana lo jodi ve aaha
kalayi koyi yu thamo na jave chodi ve aaha
na jave chodi ve
chuth na boli ve oho
kufar na toli ve oho
jo tune khayi thi kasame ik ik todi ve oho
ik ik todi ve
Next person sing a song beginning with the letter E...
Leprechaun, Proteeti , dreamybutterfly,
18shabbo & Yuvika_15Edited by Yuvika_15 - 5 days ago
Wonderful write-up Aditi. Though the festival is known by different names, the essence of the festival remains the same throughout India.
Dear IF friends, as you joyfully celebrate the festival of Pongal and welcome the harvest season, this greeting is being sent your way, to wish you everything, that the occasion is meant to bring. Have a Happy Pongal.
Siri, it is R? .... Ok ---
Roop Tera Mastana Pyar Mera diwana
Bhool Koi Hamse Na Hojaye
Next song--- EEdited by Viswasruti - 4 days ago
Topic started by beingaditij
Last replied by EmeraldPrincess