12 Jan 2023

HARVESTING PROSPERITY - PERSONIFYING UNITY IN DIVERSITY

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What comes to your mind when you hear India? Diverse, colourful, dynamic, cultural hotpot, different languages, the list is endless. India is known to be a cultural melting pot, with several practices that are fascinating, intriguing and absolutely fun. India’s history showcases the several different cultures and dynasties that have had an erstwhile influence on her and it is seen till today in the way many festivals are celebrated.

Festivals In India

India is the land of festivals, every corner of the country has something to offer. Vibrant, fun, engaging, absolutely unique yet there is always an element that binds each festival to the other. The biggest of all is the Makar Sankranti, celebrated in January around the 15th, this festival is celebrated across India with different names, traditions and culture, but the purpose is the same, thanking the land for bearing fruits of their labour. 

Makar Sankranti in the West

Lohri in the North

Magh Bihu in the East

Pongal in the South

That’s how these festivals are known. The purpose of each festival is the same, rejoicing over the shift of the sun or surya from the southern to the northern hemisphere. This festival marks the onset of spring and longer days. People are known to celebrate their first harvest and thank the land and gods for this gift.

Importance Of This Festival

India has always been an agricultural economy. Depending on the land, farm animals and everything related to agriculture has been the centre of our country’s existence. Makar Sankranti denotes the same importance and showcases how people from each region thank the sun god or surya, the farm animals, their family and friends while they worked hard on cultivating the crop.

Makar Sankranti is celebrated in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan where people fly kites, eat sweets made from jaggery, eat a delicacy called undhiya,a gujarati dish that is made with winter vegetables. In Rajasthan people eat chikki a sweet made from roasted peanuts and jaggery. In Maharashtra, they make a sweet from sesame seeds and jaggery. Jaggery is a major ingredient since it helps keeps you warm and gives instant energy in the winters. The flying of kites is also symbolic to show the change in the wind direction, since the sun is shifting.

Magh Bihu aka Bhogali Bihu is celebrated in Assam and North-East where people cook the first crop and have bhog (feast) with their loved ones. They erect bamboo huts, eat food in it and burn the huts the next day. They even have games like tekeli bonga (pot-breaking) and buffalo fighting.

Pongal is celebrated predominantly in Tamil Nadu and it lasts for four days.

The first day, Bhogi Pongal denotes the start of the new Tamil calendar year and people throw out old possessions and focus on new beginnings. Houses are cleaned, painted and decorated. The horns of oxen and buffalo are also decorated. A bonfire is lit to burn the old possessions

The second, and most important day of the festival, Surya Pongal denotes the start of the new Tamil year. The sun is worshipped and the Pongal dish is made on an open fire, in an earthen pot, facing the sun. Family and friends gather to celebrate. The earthen pot is decorated with turmeric leaves, with two bamboo stalks over it. The Pongal dish is made with milk and once it is boiled the freshly harvested rice and cane sugar are added to it. The dish is boiled till it starts overflowing and a conch is blown while people chant “pongalo,pongal” (may this rice boil over) symbolising the coming year would be overflowing with great fortune in the year ahead.

The third day, Mattu Pongal, denotes the day to thank the cattle, because they helped in the harvest. Regardless of religion, people worship cattle because it symbolises wealth, because they provide dairy products, help in the fields, transportation etc. People feed their cattle with a special meal and bananas. They are decorated with garlands and their horns are painted.

The fourth and the last day, Kanum Pongal denotes reunions and visiting people. Community leaders organise gatherings for people to come and celebrate. Farmers cut their sugarcane and eat it fresh.

Lohri is primarily celebrated in Punjab and it denotes the end of winter and the onset of longer days. The people of Punjab enjoy having great food, having a bonfire, singing folk songs and exchanging gifts. It is also a time for people to sit back and enjoy all the hard work they have done.

Milkbasket And The Festival That Unites India

Milkbasket always believes in celebrating the same. Any and every festival, no matter how big or small, we believe in representing it, celebrating it and above all being proud of what our Indian culture offers. We also love that we’re constantly expanding our horizons and going to new cities, which in turn helps us celebrate even more festivals. This festival denotes the harvesting of the crop after long, laborious hours have been put into cultivating and growing it. We thank the people who work in agriculture for keeping our country going and growing. Milkbasket being a diverse company in itself, caters to everyone’s needs during these festivals in their respective states. We want your celebrations to be smooth, fun, hassle free, because that is what this particular festival is all about. Spending time with your loved ones is what we want you to do, so ordering all your essentials and having them delivered fresh and at your doorstep is what you should experience.

It is absolutely wonderful to watch a country like India, having hundreds of languages, costumes, customs, cultures, practices come together to rejoice in their hardwork, dedication and showing respect to the land that has borne them the fruit of their labour. Unity in diversity in all that you do, is what India signifies and Milkbasket is absolutely honoured to be a part of this dynamic celebration.

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