• Harvest festival in India

    Posted by Admin Dino, January 12, 2013

    Harvest festival is one of the few festivals which is universally celebrated around the globe. It occurs in different countries at different times depending on the crop harvest period. In India, the harvest festival is celebrated in mid-January and is known by many different names. It's called Sankranti in states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orrisa, Bengal, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Bihar and Jharkand, while known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Harvest festival goes by the name of Maghi/Lohri in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

    The festivities are generally performed over a period of 4 days but vary from region to region. In Maharashtra, one of the attractions of Sankranti is the exchange of til-gul (Sesame candy) with the saying of 'til-gul ghya, aani goad goad bola' (Have some til-gul and speak sweet words). Pongal celebrated in Tamil Nadu includes getting rid of old and ragged items indicating the expectation of a bountiful harvest. On the second day of festivities, a newly harvested rice and jaggery preparation called sakkarai-pongal is offered to God. On the third day the cattle is decorated and offered prayers, signifying their importance to the farmer and agriculture. To celebrate Lohri, kids go door to door singing the praises of Dulla Bhatti, who is known for his generous ways. He is known for trying to divide the gap between rich and poor in the same way as Robin Hood. In Gujarat, it is celebrated under the name of Uttarayan and is known for its unique celebration style by covering the blue sky with beautiful kites. To commemorate this festival, the International kite festival is held on this day.

    Eventhough the harvest festival is celebrated is such varied ways, they all communicate the same message of brotherhood, oneness and thanking the ever generous mother earth.

    Morals to teach the kids on this auspicious occasion:

    • Sankranti is about overcoming past differences and encouraging oneness and brotherhood as depicted by discarding old and useless stuff.
    • Say sweet things about others. It's better to be silent than to say hurtful things about others.
    • Respect mother earth, and go green.
    • Explain the importance of going out and playing in the sun rather than spending time in front of TV or playing video games. Teach them how to safely fly a kite.