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MAKARA SANKRANTI in Karnataka

Brahmin Household……. Smartha Mulakanadu Brahmins…paddathi…. generally


applicable to every one. The purpose of this document is to give a link to missing
links among traditional followers of this great Festival and to explain the
sampradaya of our house holds.

In Karnataka state in South India, Makar Sankranti is popularly known as Yellu Bella
festival. Ellu Bella festival 2010 date is January 14. Yellu or Ella means til (Sesame
seeds) and ‘Bella’ is Jaggery. A mixture of Til (sesame seeds), Sharkara (jaggery), dry
coconut and groundnuts is given to friends, neighbors and relatives on the day. There is a
popular saying of Yellu Bella in Kannada – ellu bella tindu, ollolle matadi! (Eat Til
seeds, Jaggery and speak good words).

The popular belief is that consuming sesame seeds and jaggery will is good for the body
and it will help in the winter season. Til is consumed during this period on auspicious
occasions throughout North and western parts of India.

Other highlights of the festival are use of freshly cut sugarcanes and preparation of dishes
like Pongal.

Sankranthi, or Makara Sankranti, is a harvest festival in Karnataka as is the case in other


parts of India. In 2010, the date of Sankranthi in Karnataka is January 14. Sankranthi is
celebrated when sun transcends from Sagittarius to Capricorn during the winter solstice
in the northern hemisphere. Sankranthi means ‘change of direction’ and is based on solar
event and it also marks the arrival of Spring Season. In Kannada culture, Sankranthi is
synonymous with ellu (sesame-jaggery mix), sugar candies and sugarcane.

Uttarayana, the day time of Devas, begins from Sankranthi and the next six months are
considered highly auspicious. There are also numerous other legends that are associated
with Sankranthi.

The day before the festival all the houses are thoroughly cleaned. And on the day of
Sankranti, green mango leaves are used to decorate doors and windows and the
thresholds of houses and colorful rangoli is drawn on the doorsteps. People also fly kites
on the day.

Talk about Sankranthi and the first things that a Kannadiga would remember is
sugarcane. Stacks of sugarcane sticks piled up in the market herald the arrival of the
Sankranti festival. Shredding the sugarcane with teeth and munching the juice off it is a
major activity on the day.

People also exchange yellu – a mixture of fried sesame, peanuts and gram with jaggery
and copra. People visit relatives, friends and neighbors on the day and exchange yellu
balla. The festive feast includes rice and moong dal kichdi (both sweet and salt), curries
with freshly harvested field beans, sweet potato, sweet pumpkin, etc. The list increases as
one travels to rural Karnataka.

Numerous music and dance festival are also held during the period.

Rituals of the Day


• Makara Sankranti day also denotes End of Dhanurmasa Pooja.

• Panchanga for 14-01-2010 – Virodhi Namasamvatsara – Uttarayana


Punyakala (Madyannatpara)– Himanta Ritu, Paushamasa, Krishnapaksha,
Chaturdashi, Guruvara, Purvashada Nakshatra, Vyaghata Yoga, shakuni
karana(thisPanchanga is applicable for Bangalore and Mysore region)

Dos on this date

• Get up Early in the morning have bath


• Arrange for Madi Batte and Wear the same. Get Well Water (As far as possible)

• Do Sandhyavandanam

• Do Japas (if your guru has taught any) or Gayatri Japa is enough.

• Do the Devataarchane with Panchaamrita Abhisheka

• Keep Ellu, Bella, Sakkare acchu, Balehannu, Sugarcane, SakkarPongal, Haalu,


Hannu Kayi for Nivedya.

• End the pooja with Mangalarathi. Do Mahanivedya after the full cooking.

• See the Sankramana Kala in Panchang for the purpose of Pitru Tarpana.Page no.7
in this Ontikoppal panchanga. It is given as after 12.00PM upto evening sun
set….we can do tarpana this year (virodhi nama samvatsara)

• Tarpanaadhikaaris (People who have lost their parents )- Give Pitru Tarpana after
a fresh Bath.(this bath is necessary for the purpose of tarpana only.)

• Distribute Yellu Bella among household people. Give one Spl. Packet of Yellu
bella for Elders(this is not a ritual. But just to keep them more happy/spl. ).

• Wear Your new Cloths and start your visits outside Home.

• Do Namaskarams to Elders.
• Visit your Eistadevatha/Kula Devatha Temple (Venkatesha, Narasimha, Shiva
etc.,)
• Visit your nearest uncles (Swajana) elders and Bandhus (near and dear) with
Yellu Bella.

Women at Home, Distribute Yellu Bella among Neighbors.this is called ”YELLU


Beeruvudu”

• Newly WED ladies up to Five Years give Baagina with 5 Bananas to Five
Households. The No. of Bananas to be increased in multiples of 5 each year upto
five years. That means, First Year, 5, Second Year 10, Third Year 15 Like that.
Preferably you should give Baagina before Lunch. Arrange your logistics
accordingly.
• Baagina Items for the First Year upto 5 years-
1. Bananas (5 for the first year, 10 for 2nd year, and so on…. 25 for the fifth
year)
2. Yellu
3. Sakkre acchu
4. Kabbu
5. Tenginkayi(coconut), viledele (beetle nut and Leave), blouse piece,
dakshine (small change),
6. Buy one steel /copper/silver/earthern vessel(similar to kalasha), apply
sunna around the kalasha, put arishina on this sunna at 4 sides.
(remember-arishina on sunna will turn red). Put Avre kayi, yelchikayi,
Kadle kayi etc in this kalasha, ,
7. For the fifth year, you should give Taayi baagina with silver bowl along
with the above items and sari.

• The First year after new born at home,.... if it is a male child, sumangalis will give
Belli Krishna along with a Copra and Yellu-Bella ….If it is Female child, they
add belli battalu (silver bowl-small).
• For the kids(below 5 years) ---- in the Morning,after Devarapooje and Nivedya,
before yellu distribution to others, keep one silver vessel(kalasa) decorated with
flowers and kumkuma, put yellu bella. do – dristi parihara with that. Repeat the
same with other items like sakre achhu, sugarcane pieces, banana etc., This is
called “HIDI Tegiyuvudu”.
• Lunch can be simple with a payasa adage.. You can also have elaborate lunch if
you wish to………….Pongal is common.

• In the evening, for the kids (below 5 Years)we perform aarthi with Yelchikayi
erriyuvedu (in telugu it is called Bodikalu). That means, we buy new earthern
pots(small)/paavu and put yelchikayi, dakshine, pieces of kabbu, jeerige
peppermint, in the pot. We put kumkuma for the kid and put this yelchikayi from
Head(bodikalu posedi). This is to be done for three times. And give some kids
stuff. Like biscut etc.,for other elder kids as per their age and make them feel
happy.

• Visit Anybody you wish to visit including the people whom you would have
missed wishing them Happy New year. This is a Great Festival for the People to
get Refresh, Re-connect, and Enjoy. Sukha, Santhosha, Sambhrama, Nalivu
…..Sankraantiya Sobagu.

Loka Samassta Sukhino Bhavantu…. Samasta Sanmangalani Bhavant

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