Yesterday, 22nd January was Ratha Saptami. Ratha Saptami is an important festival observed in the current month of Maagha Masam on Shukla Saptami that is on the 7th day after the New Moon. Ratha Saptami festival is dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun GOD) and on this day Surya Bhagwan is worshipped for better health, happiness and prosperity.
Lord Surya rides a Chariot driven by seven horses and it is in this form he is worshipped during Ratha Saptami. Ratha means Chariot and Saptami means the seventh day. Surya Namaskaram is a ritual practiced everyday by the devout and today it is performed by all those observing Ratha Saptami. Ratham Muggu (Rangoli) is drawn in front of the house. You can see samples of such Muggu in the above pictures. Naivedyam that is food offerings to the idols / pictures of Gods at home are made and later eaten as prasadam.
In Telangana, Ratha Saptami is also celebrated as Kodalla Panduga that is as a festival for the daughters-in-law of the house. The daughters-in-law are gifted with new dress and a sweet is offered along with a festive meal for the entire family. Two days prior to Ratha Saptami on Maagha Masam Shukla Panchami, it is Kodukula Panduga that is a festival for the sons. Perhaps this is the only area in the entire country which has festivals earmarked every year for the Sons and Daughters-in-law.
Those of you who have missed these two occasions in this week or do not follow this tradition may celebrate and enjoy them this weekend! in honour of these important family members.