The sun will enter the Northern Hemisphere & the Capricorn (“Makara”) constellation on January 15th so it’s an auspicious day & time to celebrate! It is local celebration of “spring” here in Bangalore and most South Indian States. Also known as the “Indian thanksgiving” and “Hindu harvest festival” (kicking off the start of the harvest/spring season).
Although celebrations widely differ by state, most involve cleaning house, discarding old things, having bon fires (often with those discarded things), shopping for new household items (like cooking pots) & clothes and, of course, visiting family, drawing fancy rangoli (notably this festival highlights cow paddies in the rangoli) & eating sweets. Here, it’s all about sugar cane, which is harvested locally. (Dentists must love this time if year!) And they decorate the cows — apparently that’s more common in rural areas; I didn’t see and colourful cows en route to the office today.
People of the neighbouring state Tamil Nadu call it Pongal & celebrate for 4 days; people in Gujarat call it Uttarayan & fly kites (competitively — with crushed glass in the string to cut away the competition’s kites); people in Andhra Pradesh call it Sankranthi & girls artistically display collections of dolls (somehow related to their future abilities to organise a household). While it is a popular festival and day off for some, it’s a normal work day at my company… But traffic was light 🙂
My downstair’s neighbour’s rangoli (sans cow patty!):