Bogi festival or Bhogi is the first day of Pongal celebrated in honor of Lord Indra, "the God of Clouds and Rains" is also known as Indran (bhogi). Legends say that on this day that Lord krishna lifted the Gobardhan mountains on his little finger.
Lord Indra is worshiped for the abundance of harvest, thereby bringing plenty and prosperity to the land. On Bhogi all people clean out their homes from top to bottom, and collect all unwanted goods. This day is meant for domestic activities and of being together with the family members.
All the houses from the richest to the humblest are thoroughly scrubbed and whitewashed. Homes are cleaned and decorated with "Kolam" - floor designs drawn in the white paste of newly harvested rice with outlines of red mud. Often pumpkin flowers are set into cow-dung balls and placed among the patterns. Fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane is brought in from the field as preparation for the following day.
A special puja is performed on the first day of Pongal before the cutting of paddy. Farmers worship the sun and the earth by anointing their ploughs and sickles with sandalwood paste. It is with these holy tools that the newly harvested rice is cut. Fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane is brought in from the field as preparation for the following day.
Another ritual observed on this day is Bhogi Mantalu, when useless household articles are thrown into a fire made of wood and cow-dung cakes. This bonfire is mainly made out of old clothes, files, mats and rugs etc. The event of putting the junk on the fire is called the Bhogi Neruppu (Bhogi fire). Girls dance around the bonfire, singing songs in praise of the gods, the spring and the harvest. The significance of the bonfire, in which is burnt the agricultural wastes and firewood is to keep warm during the last lap of winter.
In Andhra Pradesh this day is celebrated by girls burning their old clothes and wearing the new ones after an oil massage and bath. Then follows Pongal Panai, a ritual in which new earthenware pots are painted and decorated with turmeric, flowers and mango leaves.