Monday, 13 January 2014

Bhogi


With the Best wishes on BHOGI Festival, here is my article on our beautiful festival. My objective is we should never forget or leave behind the reason for our celebrations on any festival eve.







Bhogi festival is the first festival of the year celebrated on the last day of the Tamil month of Margazhi, for the prosperity of every family in the new year. Bhogi festival or Bhogi is the first day of Pongal and is celebrated in honor of Lord Indra, "the God of Clouds and Rains". Lord Indra is worshiped for the abundance of harvest, thereby bringing plenty and prosperity to the land. Thus, this day is also known as Indran. On Bhogi all people clean out their homes from top to bottom, and collect all unwanted goods. This day is meant for domestic activities and of being together with the family members.



Most of the people know Bhogi for another ritual observed on this day, i.e., Bhogi Mantalu, when useless household articles are thrown into a fire made of wood and cow-dung cakes. Girls dance around the bonfire, singing songs in praise of the gods, the spring and the harvest. The significance of the bonfire, in which is burnt the agricultural wastes and firewood is to keep warm during the last lap of winter.



One more happy & beautiful ritual celebrated on this day is the infants and children at home are blessed for health and wealth with “BHOGI Fruits”('Jujubee' or ' Indian Berry') by everyone. 



All the houses from the richest to the humblest are thoroughly scrubbed and whitewashed. Homes are cleaned and decorated with "Kolam" - floor designs drawn in the white paste of newly harvested rice with outlines of red mud. Often pumpkin flowers are set into cow-dung balls and placed among the patterns. Fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane is brought in from the field as preparation for the following day.



Mythology

The Bhogi festival according to some is also a commemoration of the lifting of mount Govardhan by lord Krishna when he was still very young. According to the Vishnu-Purana the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honour of lord Indra and worshiped him at the end of every monsoon. Even as a child, lord Krishna decided to teach a lesson to lord Indra who became arrogant after becoming the king of all deities. 

One particular year the young Krishna asked all the cowherds to stop worshiping Indira.This angered lord Indra and in a fit of anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul. People were scared and realised that the downpour was due to their neglect of Indra. But Krishna assured them that no harm would take place. He lifted mount Govardhan with his little finger and sheltered men and beasts from the rain. This gave him the epithet Govardhandhari. Later, lord Indra realized his mistake and divine power of Krishna and accepted the supremacy of Krishna.


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