Bhogi is the day prior to Makar Sankranti festival. It is also the first day of the four-day Pongal festival. Celebration of this festival dates back more than 1000 years, as estimated by Epigraphic studies. It is last day of Margashish month.
It is a festival celebrated widely in southern Indian states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The Bhogi festival is celebrated in honour of Lord Indra who is also known as the god of rain. Lord Indra is worshiped by many farmers as he is expected to bring prosperity and happiness to the land. They also worship their ploughs and other farm equipment on this day.
On Bhogi, people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. At dawn, people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful to start the fresh accounts from next day which is the day one of the harvest. All agricultural and household waste like old mats and broom sticks are thrown into the fire.
Women of the family chant mantra and sing songs of praise of the Gods while taking rounds around the holy fire. Women wear new clothes and ornaments after taking a holy dip on this day. Houses are cleaned and white-washed on this day and are decorated with marigold flowers, mango leaves and new things. Rangolis are made as a fresh pleasant start, inviting positivity at homes.
There are interesting food preparations associated with this festival. As the sun commences its journey northward (Uttarayan), the harvest festival of’ Makar Sankranti’ (also known as ‘Lohri ‘ ,’Pongal’ in different parts of India) is celebrated. ‘Bhogichi bhaji’ recipe is being passed from generation to generation and is an integral part of this festive celebration. As this festival is celebrated during winter weather. There is this special Bhogi vegetable prepared using all the seasonal veggies, sesame seeds and peanuts to give required vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber and good fats required by body to fight this winter cold. It is normally eaten with multigrain bhakri to make it a complete balanced meal.
For the recipe of Bhogi Veggie check our post on this Sunday.