The Telugu community in this Silk City of Odisha celebrated the Pongal festival with pomp and gaiety. Colourful rangoli, traditional bonfire and cultural shows marked the three-day festival that began yesterday in the city, located close to Andhra Pradesh. Pongal is known as the harvest festival by the Telugu community. The first day of the festival was celebrated as Bhogi yesterday. Bhogi also marked the closing ceremony of 'Gobbi', a month-long ritual celebrated by the women. The second day of the festival today is Makara Sankranti. In Berhampur, several people will also celebrate the Makara Sankranti tomorrow. "Pongal is the biggest annual festival of the Telugu people who celebrate it across the country with enthusiasm and gaiety in association with others," said T Gopi, a resident of Desibehera Street here. Several Telugu people, including woman and children assembled near a temple at Dimond tank road yesterday afternoon to celebrate the festival. Cultural functions and bonfire were the main attractions. "We perform Dandia as we believe that Lord Krishna and Radha liked this dance very much," said a dancer. People in different localities lit the traditional bonfire to mark the Bhogi.
The Bhogi, however, was affected in several localities this time due to the shortage of firewood. Telugu girls decorated their houses with colourful rangolis, while many of them staged the cultural shows. Clad in new attire, the Telugu people of all age groups greeted each other in the town. They distributed the "pongali" - the food prepared by the newly harvested rice, dal, jaggery, dry fruits, sugar and milk. While celebrating the harvest, people thank the Sun God. "Pongal is an auspicious day for us. We invoked the forefathers of the family and offered foods to them," said Shankar Rao, a businessman here. On the last day, kanuma is celebrated. But in Berhampur, this festival is celebrated by the Telugu people in a low key. Kanuma basically is a festival of farmers when the cattle and the cattle-sheds are cleaned.
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