India is the land of festivals... People in various parts of the country celebrate festivals with different names and each festival has an interesting mythological story. In the month of January, some states in the country celebrate harvest festivals. Bihu, Pongal, Makar Sankranti, Lohri are the different names for the harvest festival but the significance of the festival is the same.
Sankranti is celebrated in most parts of the country with different names.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana:
Sankranti is a three day festival for the people of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. In Telugu states. People decorate their houses with marigold flowers and mango leaves. People fill the frontyard of the house with rangolis and they keep cow dung balls called 'Gobbemma'. They put turmeric, sugar cane, pulses and rice in the rangoli.
One could also witness kite flying, cockfights, bullfights, etc. Men and women dress up in traditional outfits and they visit the nearest temples to offer prayers. On the festival day, people prepare delicious food items like 'Chakkara Pongali' which is made of rice, jaggery and milk. One could also see Haridasus and Basvannas on the day of Sankranti.
The first day of the festival is called Bhogi. On this day, people thank god Indra, the god of rains and clouds. Bhogi Mantalu will be performed where the old house items will be burned in a huge bonfire. The second day is Makar Sankranti. On this day, people wear new clothes and will cook rice in an earthen pot filled with milk.
The traditional recipes that people prepare for Sankranti are chekkalu, chakralu, ariselu, buralu, gavvalu, purnalu, boondi mithai, bundi laddu, garelu, chakinalu, nuvvula appalu, katte appalu or karam appalu, madugulu (jantikalu), bellam appalu, kudumulu, ariselu, appalu, etc.
Kanuma is the third day and farmers pray to their cattle on this day. The fourth day is called Mukkanuma and people eat non-veg recipes on this day.
The harvest festival in Tamil Nadu is called as Thai Pongal. It is also celebrated in parts of Kerala as well. Pongal celebrates the harvest of rice, sugarcane, turmeric and other cereals and people thank mother nature for giving the needed items to survive. Day one of Sankranti in Tamil Nadu is called Bhogi Pandigai, day 2 is Thai Pongal, day 3 is Mattu Pongal, day 4 is Kaanum Ponga.
In Karnataka, the harvest festival is called Suggi. People of Karnataka perform a ritual called 'Ellu Birodu' - White sesame seeds mixed with fried groundnuts, dry coconut and jaggery will be exchanged among the dear ones. People say "Ellu bella thindu olle mathadi" while exchanging this.