Because of our Surya Pradaskhinam (Orbit around the sun), the sun appears against different stellar backgrounds. The sun appears now against that part of the sky that is assigned to Uttarashada Nakshatram. Tomorrow it moves to the 2nd quarter (pada) of that area, which is the beginning of Makara (Crocodile) Rasi. That is called Makara Samkramanam. There was a time when Makara Samkramanam matched with the Winter Solstice. So many people treat Makara Samkramanam as the beginning of Uttarayana Punya Kalam : (See : Uttarayanam: Shift from Makara Sankramanam to Dhanur Masam, that will show you how old this particular belief is!)
This is the festival of sweet things like sugarcane and sugar sweets, of sesame seeds, jaggery, bonfires, beautiful floral patterns on the floor, bonfires, long holidays, presents, visits and all manner of fun!!
All of Dhanur Masam, when the sun appears to rise against the stellar background assigned to Dhanur Rasi, people wake up early in the morning and pray to the sun, who then points to Moola Nakashatram, which in turn points out the center of our galaxy (Vishnu nabhi).
They make muggulu with gobbillu on them, make pidakalu out of the gobbillu and make a bonfire out of the pidakalu on Bhogi day which is the day before samkranthi. (See photos) The next day is a day for distributing cherukugadda (sugarcane), with verusenaga pappu (groundnuts), bellam (jaggery), cobbari (coconut) and yellu if in Karnataka.
Bhogi evenings, children are showered with regi pallu to prevent drishti and on Samkranthi evening, there is a bommala koluvu.
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Photography, Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula