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Updated January 5th, 2024 at 10:04 IST

Pongal 2024: Date, significance, traditions of the four days long harvest festival

The main day of Pongal falls on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai (usually January 14 or 15) and it is a 4 day celebration.

Pongal celebrations
Pongal celebrations | Image:Tamil Nadu tourism
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India is a country that is dependent on agriculture, hence harvest festivals are very important for us including Lohri, Pongal, and Bihu. Pongal is celebrated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and usually takes place in mid-January. The festival marks the auspicious transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn, symbolising the end of winter and the onset of the harvest season. Typically observed over four days, Pongal holds deep cultural and agricultural significance. This year, the festival is falling from 15th-18th January.

4 days of Pongal

Just like Makar Sankranti, this harvest festival is celebrated with aplomb. It begins with Bhogi Pongal, dedicated to the ritual of discarding old belongings and welcoming new possessions, signifying the cleansing of the home and mind.

Representative image | Freepik

The second day, Surya Pongal, involves the preparation of the festive dish as an offering to the Sun God, expressing gratitude for a bountiful harvest. Families gather to witness the boiling over of the Pongal pot, a joyous moment symbolising prosperity.

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Mattu Pongal, the third day, focuses on honouring cattle, crucial partners in agriculture. Decorated and worshipped, cattle play a vital role in farming, and this day expresses gratitude for their contribution.

Pongal | Image: Unsplash

The final day, Kaanum Pongal, emphasises family bonding and recreational activities. Families visit each other, enjoy festive meals, and participate in various entertainment events. It is common for people to go outdoors, have picnics, and spend quality time with loved ones.

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Significance of Pongal

Pongal is not just a religious celebration but also a time for community and familial harmony. Traditional clothing, vibrant kolam decorations, and the exchange of gifts contribute to the festive atmosphere. The festival showcases the rich agricultural heritage of Tamil Nadu as well as India. It reflects the gratitude of the people towards nature, the Sun God, and the indispensable role of cattle in farming. As families come together to share joy, food, and traditions, Pongal is celebrated with excitement and anticipation that the next agricultural season will be even more bountiful.

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Published January 5th, 2024 at 10:04 IST

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