Bhogi is a festival marked on the first day of the four-day Makarsankranti celebration in Southern India states. It is quite popular in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Telangana. The main idea of the holiday is to throw away old and useless things as well as clean and declutter your household. People light up a huge bonfire when it gets dark, burning furniture and other things. Clothes, decor items, and other personal belongings go into a fire.
This custom symbolizes the disposal of different kinds of attachments to material things. The sacred fire of the knowledge of Rudra represents purification and transformation. Bhogi is also known as the first day of the four-day Pongal festival. This is a harvest celebration commonly associated with Tamil Nadu. Pongal also begins with burning old household stuff. Northern states of India have a celebration identical to Bhogi called Lohri festival.
The festival of Bhogi falls on the final day of the Tamil month Margazhi when the sun moves south before the start of Uttarayana, the time when the sun starts to move northwards. It usually takes place after winter equinox, falling on a day between January 13th and 16th, depending on the year. Bhogi marks the change in the seasons. This day is reserved for purifying your soul and cleaning your space from anything old that can be thrown away, giving space for the start of new life.
Bhogi is followed by three more days of Makarasankranti festivities with colorful decorations and feasts. Children go house to house, singing and asking for treats and money. There are dances, kite flying, and bathing in sacred rivers or lakes to give thanks to the sun. Every 12 years, Makarsankranti is marked by a mass pilgrimage, reaching 100 million people to pray to the sun and bathe at the Prayaga confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna.