With temperature lowering down, winds becoming freezing cold comes Pongal festival in India. The Tamil community of India celebrates it as a festival signifying prosperity. In actual words, Pongal is a harvest festival that stands for the beginning of Uttarayan.
The people of Tamil Nadu celebrate this festival for four long days. Pongal means the ‘spilling over’ which stands for prosperity. A special dish containing rice and milk is cooked in a pot. When the milk boils and starts overflowing, people shout out ‘pongal, pongal’ joyously.
Pongal celebration takes place in Tamil month Thai which falls in between January.
When is Pongal in 2018?
If you ask when is pongal going to be celebrated in 2018, then this year, it is going to be observed on 14th January.
What is Pongal festival?
Those who do not have any idea of what actually is Pongal, then let us simplify it for you. It is a harvest festival. In other words, you can consider it as a Thanksgiving tradition. Here, the thanksgiving is meant for the nature. For people, it’s the perfect time to look froward in their life.
As we said it is celebrated for four long days, each day stands for different tradition. Let’s take a look at each day of Pongal celebration.
The 1st Day- Bhogi Pongal
The first day celebrates the abundance of harvest. It is dedicated to Lord Indra as people worship him for bringing prosperity on the land with rains. The day is also famous for its Bhogi Mantalu ritual. People throw out useless and broken household items into a burning pile of cow dung cakes. Girls sing and dance around the burning pile.
The 2nd Day- Surya Pongal
The second day is for cooking the special Pongal dish or recipe outdoor. People boil rice and milk together in an earthen pot. They also tie a turmeric plant around the pot in a traditional way. Once it’s prepared, people offer it to the Sun God. The offerings also include coconut, banana, and sugarcane.
They also make kolam and rangoli in front of the home to mark auspiciousness.
The 3rd Day- Mattu Pongal
The third day of the celebration is called Mattu Pongal which is dedicated to cattle. People worship farm animals including the cows and bulls. They are given rest for the day and feed well. It is actually a thanksgiving dedicated to cattle!
In Madurai, people celebrate Jallikattu. People tie money to bulls’ horns and follow them to retrieve the money.
The 4th Day- Kannum Pongal
On the fourth day, people wash turmeric leaf and place it on the ground. They serve sweet Pongal on it along with other essentials. All the family member gather around. Women pray for their brothers’ prosperity and perform their aarti with limestone, rice and turmeric water. Later, they sprinkle this holy water in and around their house usually at kolam.
Once the pooja is finished, all the family members relish delicious dishes and foods. They also share gifts with each other.