Bhogi is the first day of four-day Sankranthi festival in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Tamil people celebrated Bhogi as Bhogi Pongal. Bhogi Mantalu and Bhogi Pallu are the main ritual during Bhogi festival.
In the early morning, people light a sacred bonfire called Bhogi Mantalu. Children dance around bhogi mantalu, singing songs in praise of the gods and the South Indian harvest festival.
On Bhogi day, women folk spray cow dung and water in front of house and draw rangoli (muggulu). On Muggu (rangoli), gobbemmalu are kept. Gobbemma is a cow dung ball, decorated with pasupu (turmeric), kumkum, and flowers.
The major legend of Bhogi is associated with the divine marriage of Godadevi and Sri Ranganatha swamy. This day also marks the end of Dhanurmasam. Vishnu puja is considered as highly auspicious during Bhogi. And as per another legend, Bhogi is the favorite day for Lord Indra hence Indra puja is also performed in some places.
In the evening on Bhogi festival day, elders in the home showers ‘Bhogi Pallu on children. The main purpose of this ritual is to pray Lord Vishnu for better health of children.
Apart from traditional and spiritual reasons, all these Bhogi rituals and celebrations have good scientific reasons. Gobbemma which is made of cow dung and turmeric creates a worm-free environment in the house. Bhogi Mantalu (burning the agricultural waste and domestic waste) not only clears the waste but also makes the fields free from harmful insects and worms.