Jan 19 2011

Indian sponsored friends celebrate Makar Sankranti

Pratyusha

Pratyusha, a CFCA sponsored child, draws a rangoli during Makar Sankranti, a major harvest festival in India.

Information for this article was contributed by Sreekanth Gundoji, the communications liaison in Hyderabad.

Many parts of India, especially rural areas, celebrate a major harvest festival, Makar Sankranti, every Jan. 13-16. The festival is tied to the lunar calendar.

Day one: Bhogi

On Bhogi, people burn old items to symbolize getting rid of the old to make way for the new.

Family members gather in the backyard of their house, collect useless furniture and wooden sticks and start the fire.

Afterward people wash their heads and wear fresh clothing. Women also make special dishes for the festival.

In the evening, many families, infants and children are showered with fruit called “regi pandlu” (jujube fruit) to protect them from evil.

Day two: Pedda Panduga

On this day, women and girls make colorful drawings, or “rangoli,” in front of their homes. Children also fly kites.

Rangoli competitions

Mothers take part in the rangoli competitions.

“Since the people living in slums do not have proper place to draw the rangoli, CFCA invited the sponsored members and their families to a common place, where the mothers gathered for rangoli competitions and to participate in song and dance competitions,” says Shilpa Indrakanti, a Hyderabad project staff member. “The participants were awarded accordingly. The children were given kites and gifts along with a tasty lunch.”

Pratyusha, 13, helps her mother by cooking paramannam, one of the festival dishes.

“I like this festival because this is the festival of rangoli,” Pratyusha said. “My mother will draw the outlines of the rangoli and I will do the coloring of it and while cooking paramannam, I cut the jaggery (a sweet food made from sugarcane) to help my mother.”

Day three: Kanuma

For Kanuma, people, especially in rural areas, decorate and feed cows, bulls and other animals important to the agrarian economy and rural culture.

Many farmers will cook and eat food in the fields. Most of the food is non-vegetarian and made from mutton and chicken.

Chandrakanth

Chandrakanth

Chandrakanth, 10, said he eats chicken curry cooked by his mother.

Sponsored members in CFCA’s Hyderabad project represent the religions of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. They are invited to join in celebrating festivals of all three faiths. One of these is Makar Sankranti.

“We organize common recreation and fun activities with singing, dancing and cultural activities as well as writing competitions, quizzing, indoor and outdoor games and other group activities,” said Suresh Singareddy, Hyderabad project coordinator. “The children usually participate enthusiastically in all the events.”

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