The harvest festival of the people of the state of Tamil Nadu, falls on the 13th of January every year. However, the actual festivities start on the 14th of January, referred to as Perum Pongal, and last for four days. It is actually a Hindu festival which is celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu.
How four days of Pongal Festivity is celebrated?
On the first day of festivity, Bogi Pandigai, people clean their homes and light bonfire to discard unused items. Sikh community celebrate this day as Lohri in Punjab.
Pongal is actually a sweet dish from which the festival takes its name – it is cooked on the second day of celebrations. The second day of the festivity is also known as Thai Pongal, which is celebrated as Makar Sankranti. On this day of Makar Sankranti, people take holy dip in river Ganges in North Indian states.
The third day of the festivity is known as Mattu Pongal day. On this day cattle are worshipped and decorated.
The last and fourth day is Kaanum Pongal, which is also considered the time of family reunions for the people of Tamil Nadu.
Before the start of festivity, ‘kolams’ are made – a ‘kolam’ is a decorative pattern made with rice flour and is usually drawn on the floor, outside the door of Tamil homes. At the center of the ‘kolam’ is a lump of cow-dung, which holds a five – petal pumpkin flower.
It is considered to be a symbol of creation and is offered as a token of love to the Sun God. People thank God, the earth and their cattle for the wonderful harvest and pray for a good crop in the coming year.
Thai Pongal Day is celebrated by boiling the concoction of jaggery, fresh milk and freshly harvested milk in a new clay pot at the time of sunrise in an open place. As a sign of prosperity and material abundance, people let milk overflow and spill out of the pot. To show gratitude to the Sun God for good harvesting, freshly cooked dish is offered to the Sun God followed by distribution to other people on banana leaves.
Wish all of you a very Happy Pongal!