8. Makara Shankranti-6.
On the Shankranti day, sweets, puddings and sweet rice are prepared in every home, especially in South India.
The pot in which the rice is cooked is beautifully adorned with tumeric leaves and roots, the symbols of auspiciousness.
The cooking is done by the women of the household with great faith and devotion, feeling from the bottom of their hearts that it is an offering unto the Lord.
When the milk in which the rice is being cooked boils over, the ladies and the children assemble round the pot and shout “Pongalo Pongal!” with great joy and devotion.
Special prayers are offered in temples and houses.
Then the people of the household gather together and partake of the offerings in an atmosphere of love and festivity.
There is family re-union in all homes. Brothers renew their contacts with their married sisters by giving them presents.
The farmer is lovingly greeted by the landlord and is given presents of grain, clothes and money.
On the next day, the herds of cows are adorned beautifully, fed and worshipped.
In some villages the youth demonstrate their valour by taking “the bull by the horn” (and often win their brides thereby!).
It is a great day for the cattle.
To be continued ...