Isha Kamat from Panjim is super excited to celebrate her first Haldi Kumkum after her marriage to her long-time beau, Kalash Chimulkar, in December last year.
The Hindu community in Goa is currently celebrating Makar Sankranti, a season dedicated to Surya, the God of the Sun. This occasion marks the transition of the sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn and its celebration takes place with a lot of excitement, fervour and dedication. Various kinds of celebrations, rituals are observed and one of them is Haldi Kumkum.
Isha, who is excited, says, “I’m having my first Haldi Kumkum celebration tomorrow when we will be having friends and family join in. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach.”
During the next few days, you will observe Hindu women in groups, dressed in traditional attire, with local flowers in their hair and green bangles, bring out the beauty of a Hindu married woman, moving door-to-door.
Explaining the ritual, Samiksha Naik, who is celebrating her 15th Haldi Kumkum this year, says, “Haldi Kumkum is usually celebrated by married women, who visit each other’s houses and apply turmeric and vermilion on each other’s foreheads. For the first five years of marriage, there are some particular gift items which have to be given to the guests. Along with the gift, sesame seed ladoos, also known as til laddoos and tilgul are distributed.”
While distributing the ladoos and tilgul people are greeted with the phrase: ‘Tilgul gya, goad goad bola’ (Take tilgul, and speak sweet). In the first five years of marriage, women distribute items like – coconut and matka, bindis, bangles, comb and handkerchief. After this period, any gift – according to the budget – is allowed.
Samiksha Naik, who is celebrating her 15th Haldi Kumkum
HALDI KUMKUM GOODIES
Bharti and Ravi Chipker, who run a store in Margao, have an array of Haldi Kumkum goodies to be sold – from paan, to packets of tilgul and tilache ladoos, grams, decorated clay pots, sweet supari and more.
“We get a lot of people who come during this time to buy these items, so we stock up at our shop. People have a lot of varieties to choose from. I have noticed that the younger generation likes to stick to tradition, but prefer fancy things – like they will want to give a clay matka, but they prefer those with good designs, which are attractive,” says Bharti.
While tradition plays an important role, in some parts of India like Gujarat during Makar Sankranti people fly kites. Ravi says, “There is a reason for this – as the transition of the sun takes place, it is believed that sun’s rays during this time are very beneficial. So activities like kite flying expose you to the sun where you can get your dose of vitamin D.”
Festivals like these are also held to bring communities together. Communal harmony in Goa is seen in many forms and one of them is by getting to know your neighbour and what better occasion than Makar Sankranti.