In my view, the most innate reflex of us Belgaumites is to rejoice in our blessings and share them with others. We laugh heartily and express ourselves openly, even if it may be considered poor manners in some circles. We don’t need an occasion to party – life itself is one big celebration! We rarely complain about what we lack, instead choosing to remain optimistic about the future.
Come January and the city of Belagavi is blanketed in a fervent chill(started late this year though). People hurry home early, and there is warmth and happiness in our homes. But the villages around us experience even more joy, as this is the time to reap the rewards of their hard work in the fields. It’s time for Sankranti, the festival of the golden harvest.
We Belgaumites have our own indicators that winter has arrived. The days are shorter and the nights are longer – just the way any lazy person would prefer! When we go shopping, we see the Belagavi watana (peas) in the market, a delicacy that is exclusive to this season. We also see fresh green harbara, a favorite of children and adults alike. And of course, the Tibetans in Ramdev Galli bring an extra stock of sweaters. When you observe these signs, you know winter is upon us.
Winter may be romantic, but it’s also a time of coughing and sneezing.
The real fun begins at the end of winter when it’s time to celebrate Sankranti, the festival of the sun. This is when the fields are harvested and the Rabi crop is ready for storage. The farmers are filled with joy and pride, knowing that their hard work is about to pay off. They can’t help but dance to the Suggi tune, for they know that happy days are ahead. To share in this joy, people come together in the neighborhood to sing, dance, eat, and share – that’s what Sankranti is all about.