Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasions for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of India and Nepal in a myriad of cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour, and gaiety. It is a harvest festival. Makar Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day every year: 14 January, with some exceptions, when the festival is celebrated on 13 January or 15 January. Makar Sankranti is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India.
– Gameness til the End
TNN Dec 8, 2013, 04.27AM IST
KEONJHAR: Crowds gathering at weekly markets called ‘haats’ to watch cockfights is a common sight in Keonjhar district on wintry afternoons. While for some it’s a form of amusement, others place bets and earn a few quick bucks. Cockfight is an age-old tradition among tribals.
Cockfights start from ‘Prathamastami’ and continue till ‘Makar Sankranti’. Over the years, gambling has become a part of it. Thousands of rupees are at stake while villagers cheer their favourite cocks.
Sometimes competitions are organized by clubs and committees. The owner of winning cocks are given prizes. It also means business for most villagers, who breed cocks for fighting.
“While the younger generation is hooked to cricket and football, no game can substitute cockfight for the elder lot,” said a local Alekh Chandra Patra.
Knives are tied to legs of two cocks and they are thrown inside the arena. The cocks try to cut each other and in the process one kills another or gets killed. The fitter one survives and is declared winner.
Published on: Sun, 13 Jan 2013 at 10:11 IST
Hyderabad: The harvest festival of Makar Sankranti kick started on Sunday in Andhra Pradesh as people set bonfires on the streets with agricultural and household waste to mark ‘Bhogi’.
Makar Sankranti, one of the major festivals, is celebrated in several parts of the country in myriad cultural forms. It is celebrated for three days in Andhra Pradesh.
Rangoli, kite flying, decoration of bulls, cockfights, bull-fights and other rural sports mark the festival.
Towns and villages wore a festive atmosphere with colourful kites dotting the skies and people participating in competitions to mark the festival.
Despite the ban on cockfights, hundreds including politicians, businessmen and celebrities bet crores of rupees. Though police impose curbs in many towns and villages in coastal Andhra, people organized cock-fight saying it was part of their culture.
Three to four inch knives are attached to the cocks’ legs and the fight continues till the death of one of the two cocks in each round.
The cock-fights, which began on Sunday, will continue during the three-day celebrations.
Apart from games, people people clean their houses and burn old things in the belief that their lives would turn better. Many also wore new clothes.
Bonfires were seen on many streets in the colonies of Hyderabad with people burning their household waste and unwanted goods like old clothes, mats and broom sticks.
Bhogi, also known as Indran, is celebrated in honor of Hindu god Indra. Men, women and children went around the bonfires with prayers. Some sang songs and danced. The day was celebrated with religious fervor and gaiety across the state, especially in the coastal Andhra region, famous for agricultural crops.
After thoroughly cleaning their houses, women folks set cow-dung balls called ‘Gobbemma’ and placed them akin to rangoli patterns.
They also went for fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane. The houses were decorated with marigold flowers and mango leaves.
After special prayers in temples, the families prepared various dishes, especially Pongal, made of rice and daal.