Hyderabad, Jan 14: Makar Sankranti, the harvest festival, was celebrated Tuesday across Andhra Pradesh with traditional fervour and gaiety.
The countryside wore a festive look with decoration of houses, kite-flying, cockfights, bullfights and other rural sports.
‘Haridasus’ and ‘Basvannas’ the uniquely attired alm-seekers with ornately decorated ox were seen making rounds of the villages to seek alms. The farmers decorated bullocks for their contribution to the harvest.
Bhogi fire was lit in several parts of the state for the second day as the confusion prevailed over the exact date of Sankranti.
In Bhogi fire, people burn old agricultural and household waste with a belief that new things would be ushered into their lives.
The festivities are spread over three days with the celebration of Bhogi on the first day and Sankranti the next day.
According to the government calendar Sankaranti falls on Jan 14 but as per the calendar prepared by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), the festival will be celebrated Jan 15.
The TTD pundits argued the date was set based on calculations made following ancient texts.
For the second day, people lit bonfires on the streets with agriculture and household waste with the belief that this will usher in new things.
Men, women and children were seen participating in the ritual with enthusiasm. They went around the bonfire, singing traditional songs.
In most of the villages women made colourful ‘muggu’ or ‘rangoli’ (colourful patterns) in front of their houses with cow dung, flowers and mango leaves.
The womenfolk prepared ‘chakkara pongal’ or rice kheer, a special dish made of new rice, jaggery and milk. They allow the dish to boil over, which symbolises the abundance.
In Hyderabad and other towns, the sky was dotted with colorful kites. Popular Hindi and Telugu chartbusters blared from the speakers as youngsters, irrespective of their religion and caste, flown kites from rooftops.
The lanes in Hyderabad were abuzz with commotion as children ran to loot the kites cut by the competitors. People of Telangana, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions are celebrating the festival in line with their unique cultural traditions.