The three-day Sankranti festival, which is colloquially called `Pedda Panduga' is back in towns and cities with old tradition and gaiety, fervor. Particularly, the youth are actively taking part in the celebrations in towns and trying to understand the background and importance of the festival and traditions behind Pongal festival.
In last three to four years, Colleges in East Godavari started celebrating Sankranti festival in their colleges. Mostly, Engineering Colleges are competing which each other to celebrate this festival in grand manner. Rather than boys, girls are coming forward in making arrangements to celebrate the fete in most traditional way.
According to Bonam Rajesh, Chairman of BVC Engineering College, Botlapalem said that they have introduced to celebrate Sankranti Festival in traditional way and made an announcement to this effect about three years ago. However, the students went to their parents and made this festival grand success every year with variety of decorations reflecting importance of Sankranti, brought `Gangireddulu' also to the college.
Arranging `Gobbemmalu' with cow-dung, bringing full length sugarcane with leaves, making sweet Pongal, some of the selected girls and boys bringing `Ariselu' and other traditional food from their houses and sharing with Professors, teachers and other students is part of `Sankranti Sambaralu' in Srinivasa Engineering College, AIMS Engineering College, BVC Amalapuram and other institutes.
“Putting half-saree (langa-voni) and dressing in traditional way is an opportunity that comes in an age between 16 to 19 that too during the festive season like Pedda Panduga. We enjoy this”-said Suneetha, Sushma of AIMS College.
Riding on a bullock-cart, eating sugarcane, Ariselu, Pongal is a different experience for people from North-Eastern states. “Last year we visited Konaseema, where we thoroughly enjoyed Sankranti Festival”-said Randir Singh of Meghalaya who is studying in BVC.
Apart from Engineering Colleges, the festival went to the doorsteps of Star hotels. Anand Regency, three-star Hotel conducted seven-day event last year naming Sankranti Vantalu with traditional foods. River Bay also followed the suit. Cultural organizations, newspaper offices are conducting Rangoli competitions in all major towns from last two to three years.