Kanuma is a festival of the cattle. It is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh as a part of the Sankranthi festival. Kanuma falls on the third day of this four-day long festival. It is of special importance to farmers who consider cattle as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity.

When is Kanuma celebrated?

Kanuma is celebrated on the third day of the Sankranthi festival that takes place in the last phase of the Tamil month of Marghazi or Telegu month of Pushya. As per the English calendar, it falls between the 13th and 16th of January every year. This is the phase of Uttarayana---when the sun changes its place from the southern to the northern hemishphere.

Spiritual significance of Kanuma

Sankranthi is the harvest festival of Andhra Pradesh and starts with the ritual of Bhogi. Kanuma is the celebration and worship of the cattle that falls on the third day. Mukkanuma is the next day that is marked by merry making and feasting.

According to mythology, on this day Lord Krishna saved the local people of Gokula who came to his rescue after there was a huge flood in the village. It is said that Lord Indra—the deity of rains flooded the village out of anger and rage. Lord Krishna picked up the Govardhan hill with his little finger and gave shelter to all the villagers in danger. Seeing this, lord Indra realized his mistake and withdrew the heavy rains from Gokula.

Other names of Kanuma

Kanuma Padhugai is the other name of this festival. It is known as Mattu pongal in Tamil Nadu.

Rituals of Kanuma

  • This festival is dedicated to cows, bull and oxen that forms a key part of the agriculture industry of villages.
  • On this day Govardhan puja or go puja is organized to worship the cattle.
  • The cattle are bathed and decorated with paint and ornaments on this day. They are taken to nearby temples where rituals are performed for worship.
  • Family get together are a must; son-in-laws are specially invited for this festival and to be a part of the family unions. Special non vegetarian food is prepared for the grand feast on this day.
  • Betting is done on the cattle and bull fighting is organized during Kanuma.
  • The most healthy bulls are adorned with ornaments and are brought in for processions thus showcasing a farmer’s grandeur. These processions are illustrated with Sannai music.
  • Earlier times also saw cock-fighting games during this time. Betting is also done on cinema stars during this festival.
  • Cinema is an important part of this festival. Many movies are released during this time as families enjoy watching movies as a part of the family unions.
  • Special dishes that are a part of this festival are Ariselu made of rice flour and jaggery, puliharam or tamarind rice, laddu, sweet pongal, moong dal payasam, bobbabatlu or puran poli and cracked wheat halwa.
  • Donations are made during this festival to poor people.