This particular tradition is one that my informant did not know much about, though she has been participating in it since she was very small. It is specific to women and girls, and she says that getting together with the other Indian women in her town was always fun.
“This holiday is called Sankranti, and as far as I can tell the purpose is to spread good cheer. It happens like every spring during the Indian harvest season, and the girls and women put up a big doll display and then everyone goes from house to house, and they chill and appreciate the doll display at each house. At our house we always make sure there’s tons of food and that each person leaves with a goody bag. Like I said, I’m pretty sure the purpose is to make everyone happy and bond together.”
This kind of social bonding festival seems to be the kind of thing that would have deep roots in ancient culture where men and women were more separated in society. Because my informant didn’t really know the purpose of the holiday, I’m guessing that the meaning has gotten a little lost in translation to our current generation, as most of the other things she told me about have very specific purposes and meanings that every celebrant knows by heart. I thought it was a sweet community-building activity, but then again without knowing the complete reason for a holiday like this it is hard to make a judgment. As a harvest holiday, I thought it was interesting that only the women celebrated this particular festival because the harvest involves every member of a community.