Bhogi is one of the significant Hindu harvesting festivals celebrated in the Southern state of India on the first day of the four days of Pongal.
It is primarily celebrated in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka in the Southern states in honour of Lord Indra, the God of Rains & Clouds. Farmers worship Lord Indra and seek the blessings to bring good rains, harvest, and prosperity to them.
Therefore, the day is also known as Indran.
When is Bhogi celebrated? The festival of Bhogi generally falls on the 13th or 14th of January every year. The date depends on the ending day of the Tamil month, ie. Margazhi. It is observed on the first day of the Pongal festival when the sun starts moving to the northern hemisphere from the South.
This year in 2023, the festival of Bhogi will be celebrated on January 14th, which will last until January 17. Read on to learn more about the history of Bhogi, its significance, and how it is celebrated.
What is Bhogi, and why do we celebrate it? According to the legends, the festival of Bhogi is dedicated to Lord Indra, the God of rains & clouds. On this day, Lord Indra is worshipped by farmers to bless the land with prosperity, wealth & good rains. In addition, farmers also worship their Ploughs and other farming equipment on this day.
To celebrate the Bhogi festival, people discard their old belongings, marking the beginning of a new era. Houses are cleaned & decorated with marigold garlands, mango leaves, and many new things.
People take an early bath & dress nicely. A traditional rangoli of colours and pumpkin flowers is made in the front of their houses, known as “Kolam”. Fresh cow dung, i.e. “gobbemma” is also placed to decorate rangolis with earthen lamps lightened over them. It is believed that it takes away all the negative energies from & around their houses and makes the atmosphere positive.
People cook food with newly reaped rice, sugarcane, & turmeric on the occasion day, while farmers praise their farming equipment with kumkum & sandalwood while delicacies are offered to the Sun God.
The main ritual of this day is called “Bhogi Mantalu '' where people light a bonfire known as “Bhogi fire” with cow dung and waste wood to get rid of old & negative things from their life. They discard their old & useless household items like clothes, etc., in the fire and focus on a new beginning. Women of the families wear new clothes and chant Mantras to praise God around the fire.
“Pongal Panai” is another ritual performed on this day where people buy new earthen pots, paint & decorate them with flowers & mango leaves. Farmers decorate their cattle in the village and offer prasad. The day is about getting your friends & families together & exchange happy Bhogi wishes.
Additionally, “Bhogi pallu” is prepared by women with freshly harvested rice & fruits along with honey to distribute among children. Sugarcanes and many green plants are tied in front of the home with turmeric roots, representing the season's sweetness, happiness, and auspiciousness.
The Bhogi festival is known as “Pedda Panduga” in many South Indian states. This Hindu harvesting festival is majorly celebrated in Southern states, where people exchange happy Bhogi wishes with each other and sweet delicacies made at their homes. People worship & seek the blessings of Lord Indra for a prosperous agricultural year ahead.
Now you know that the first day of Pongal is known as Bhogi while the second day is called “Thai Pongal”, where a special ritual is performed. Rice & milk are boiled together in an earthen pot and tied with a turmeric plant to offer to the Sun God.
The festival of Pongal is known by different names in different states of India. Let’s have a look:
Makar Sankranti - Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan etc.
Pongal, Uzhavar Thirunal -Tamil Nadu
Uttarayan - Gujarat
Maghi - Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana etc. The day before, people in Punjab celebrate the festival of Lohri.
Bhogali Bihu - Assam
Shishur Saenkraat - Kashmir
Makara Sankramana - Karnataka
In many countries, the day is celebrated but with different names such as
Shakrain/ Poush Sankranti - Bangladesh
Songkran - Thailand
Maghe Sankranti - Nepal
Pi Ma Lao - Laos
Moha Sangkran - Cambodia
Bhogi is celebrated on the first day of Tamil month Thai signifies the end of the winter season and the starting of a new era. However, a ritual observed on this day is the Bhogi bonfire, where people throw useless & old household items into the fire. The significance of a Bonfire in which all the agricultural waste is burnt is to end the cold season.
But ultimately, it results in the release of carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses in the atmosphere, exposure to which can cause various health issues such as irritation in the eyes, nose, throat, skin etc. Therefore, people are requested to avoid burning the waste materials such as plastic, polyethene etc., on Bhogi day.
In addition, various awareness campaigns are being conducted by the government to educate people on the harmful effects of open burning towards the environment.
Now you know that the main belief behind celebrating the day is getting rid of old things by lighting a bonfire. It symbolises discarding unnecessary things & thoughts to start new ones. On this Bhogi, let’s pledge to celebrate Bhogi in an eco-friendly manner without burning things that are harmful to the environment. A small act of change can make a big difference. Happy Bhogi to all of you!!
1. What is the Bhogi festival?
The festival of Bhogi is celebrated majorly in Southern states of India in honour of Lord Indra, who is known as the god of rains & clouds to bless the land with good harvesting & prosperity.
2. What is the tradition of Bhogi?
On this day, people build the traditional bonfire, popularly known as “Bhogi Mantalu”, where people come together to discard their old belongings into the fire and begin a new era.
3. Is Pongal and Bhogi the same?
The festival of Pongal begins on the first day, known as Bhogi Pongal, which is observed on the last day of Tamil month.