Berhampur, Jan 15 (Localwire) People of the South India origin here celebrated the beginning of the three-day festival of Pongal with their relatives and friends.
The women drew colourful rangoli outside of their decorated houses to welcome the newly harvested rice, prepare Pongali, a special delicacy and distributed among relatives after offering to the god.
The three-day Pongal festival which began yesterday is known as the mother of the festivals by the Telugu community here.
The first day of the festival was celebrated as Bhogi, while the second day is being celebrated as Pongal, also known as Makar Sankranti today.
With a sizeable Telugu population in this Odisha-Andhra border town, the festival is being celebrated every year with pomp and gaiety. In several places, Odiya people also joined with the Telugus to celebrate the festival.
“Pongal is the biggest annual festival of the Telugu people and they celebrate it across the country, ” said Satya Narayana, president of Andhra Bhashabhivardhani Samajam (ABS).
Chandra Sekhar Sahu, MP, and Bokram Kumar Panda, MLA, both from Berhampur joined the festivities with the Telugu community here.
Besides Berhampur, Pongal is also being celebrated with traditional fervour in other Telugu dominated villages in and around Gopalpur, Chhatrapur and Chikiti in Ganjam district. On the eve of Pongal, people in different localities lit the traditional bonfire to mark the Bhogi.
Andhra Bhashabhivardhani Samajam has organised the Sankranti Sambaraalu (Pongal celebration) here.
“We have been celebrating Pongal here with Telugu community participation in large numbers for last two years, ” ABS president said. The aim is to protect the Telugu cultural, he added.
“Pongali”, a special delicacy prepared with the newly harvested rice, dal, jaggery, dry fruits, sugar and milk was distributed on the occasion.
Pongal is celebrated to thank the Sun God. The Pongali, cooked in a new clay pot, is offered to the Sun God.
“Pongal is the auspicious day for us and the day to evoke the forefathers of the family and an occasion to offer them food,” said Shankar Rao, a resident of the city.
After Shankranti, and Kanuma, the last day of the Pongal will be celebrated on Thursday.
Kanuma is basically a festival of the farmers when the cattle and the cattle sheds are cleaned. Since very few Telugu people have cattle, so the celebration of Kanuma is not that big, ” said A. Srinibash Rao, a Telugu youth.