Bhoga is defined as “experiencing the Divine Joy.” Bhogi is a day before Makara Sankarama na, a day before the festival of harvest Pongal. It commemorates the Divine Joy experienced by Godhadevi. It is on this special day she completed her Dhanurmasa vratha which lasted for 30 days. Sri Ranganatha Swamy who she adored was pleased with her devotion and let her merge in Him on this day.
Today (14-01-2023) happens to be Bhogi and is celebrated in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This day is also significant due to the fact that it was on this day Sri Krishna lifted Goverdhanagiri and initiated the worship of nature instead of demi-god Indra. Legend has that in Gokula everyone were worshipping Indra. Little Krishna asked all the cowherds to stop worshiping Indra and it was more logical for them to worship Mount Goverdhana which was providing the nutrients for the cow herd. Angered by this move, Indra ordered Varuna to submerge Gokula. A storm created havoc and there was no shelter for the residents of Gokula. Little Krishna assured them safety by lifting Govardhan with his little finger. He was known as Govardhandhari and Indra realized his mistake and became aware of the Divine powers of Sri Krishna.
Most interesting part of this festival is Bhogi Fire. As dawn draws on this day, a bonfire is lit and all the unwanted, unusable and waste items like old wooden furniture and used broomstick are put into the fire. This disposal of derelict things and getting ready to adapt new changes in life is the gist of this ritual. It also avoids hoarding of old items. In this juncture my humble suggestion is that the better way to celebrate Bhogi will be when we give away our old items to the needy. No doubt selling our old unused items @ global online marketplace fetch us monetarily, the joy in giving to those who need them and seeing the joy in them is priceless.
We can still have bonfire with firewood. This unique practice educates us to accommodate the new change by making amendments of the older concepts. It is a day where all old habits, the vices, attachment to relations and materialistic things are sacrificed in the Bhogi Fire.
Off late a few of them are using old tyre, rubber, plastic and all sorts of synthetic material for the bonfire. This is resulting in contaminating the air we breathe. It is advised that we use only agricultural waste so that the tradition continues.