Pongal, one of a major Hindu festival is celebrated on the fourteenth day of January every year in the state of Tamil Nadu. For four long days, the festival is celebrated and mother nature and Sun God is worshipped for bestowing food grains and providing energy for agriculture. The harvest festival is named after the Tamil word, Ponga, which means to boil. Read ahead to know all about the festival.
There are two dimensions to celebrate Pongal. One, it is meant to rejoice the bounteous harvest preceding the Pongal celebrations. Secondly, Pongal is a kind of thanksgiving in which people celebrate it to thank all those aspects that helped their agricultural and farming activities.
The first day of Pongal is celebrated in honour of Lord Indra, the god of rain. On the second day, known as Thai Pongal, there is a special ritual performed where rice and milk are boiled together in an earthen pot - which is tied with a turmeric plant- out in the open as an offering to the sun god.
However, another important aspect of this day is the kolam, which is the traditional design hand-drawn at the entrance of houses with lime powder.
The third day, Mattu Pongal is celebrated in the name of cows. The cattle are adorned with bells, sheaves of corn and garlands and are worshipped.
The fourth day, Kaanum or Kanu Pongal marks the last day of the harvest festival. On this day, a ritual is performed where the leftover sweet dish Pongal and other food are set out in the courtyard on a washed turmeric leaf, along with betel leaves, betel nuts and sugar cane.
On the days of Pongal, Tamilians decorate their houses with mango, banana leaves and colourful patterns made with rice flour at the entrance of the house. Moreover, the traditional sweet dish of Pongal is prepared at home from rice and jaggery. Apart from this, Jallikattu, a bull-taming event is also organised.