Pongal is a four-day harvest festival in Tamil Nadu that falls in the Thai month (i.e. the January-February season) when crops such as rice, sugarcane, turmeric, etc. are harvested. Tamil's word ' Pongal' means "boiling," and The harvest festival, which marks the end of Margazhi's month is celebrated as a ritual of thanksgiving for the harvest of the year. It is all about giving thanks to nature for the abundance of food the region receives. Pongal, one of the main Hindu festivals, occurs every year around at the same time as Lohri. Pongal is also the name of a dish eaten during this festive season, which is sweetened rice boiled with lentils. This year the festival will be celebrated between 15th January 2020-18th January 2020.
On the first day, people collect stuff from their house which is unwanted and burn them in a bonfire. This is to detox their homes. All this is done in an order to signify a new beginning in their life and start fresh.
This is the most important day out of all 4 days. On this day, people pray to the sun god, Surya. People decorate their houses with sugarcane and kolam. This festival meets Makar Sankranti on the same day. The second day of Pongal involves boiling of milk and rice inside a pot. They prepare sweet dishes which are served with sugarcane, murukku, and sambhar.
Maatu Pongal is the third day of festivities, where Maatu translates into "cow." Tamilians paying their gratitude to cattle on this day is synonymous with the ploughing of land for both farming and dairy supply. So cows are bathed, coated with turmeric mud, decorated with garland and well-fed. It's a rest day for the animals.
Kaanum Pongal is the fourth and final day of the Pongal festivities. The word Kaanum means' to visit,' so it's time for friends and family to visit each other, and even exchange gifts.