We’ve recently finished a number of celebrations and begun a new year. Pongal, which falls in the first month of the year, is essentially the celebration that ushers in a happy year ahead. In Tamil Nadu, as well as other areas of India and the world, Pongal is celebrated with great fanfare. Pongal celebrates the start of Uttarayan.
Pongal means ‘to overflow,’ and on this day, people in Southern India boil freshly harvested rice in a clay pot till it ‘overflows,’ symbolizing prosperity and abundance.
The festival runs from January 14 through January 17 and is a four-day event. For Tamilians, it is considered one of the most important celebrations. Pongal is celebrated in essentially the month when turmeric, rice, and sugarcane are harvested. The Hindu Sun God is honored at this festival.
The festival’s origins may be traced back to the Sangam period, which lasted from 200 BC to 300 AD. Although Pongal started as a Dravidian Harvest festival and is mentioned in Sanskrit Puranas, historians associate the holiday with the Thai Un and Thai Niradal, which are thought to have been held during the Sangam Age.
How to celebrate Pongal?
Tamilians adorn their homes with mango, banana leaves, and colorful rice flour designs at this event. Furthermore, the foods are presented with banana leaves, as is customary. The end of the harvest season is connected with an abundance of food, hence the fortunate month is seen to be a typical month for marriages.
Bhogi Pongal (first day): It is dedicated to commemorating the existence of the Rain God. On this day, a bonfire is built and all of the household’s unneeded things are burned.
Thai Pongal (second day): In an earthen pot, custom milk and rice are cooked together. It’s also tied to a turmeric plant and presented to the Sun. On this day, the kolam at the front door of the house is also designed.
Mattu Pongal (third day): This day is dedicated to cows and their sanctity. Cows are also decorated with garlands, bells, and grain sheaves before being worshipped.
Kaanum Pongal (fourth day): This is the last day of Pongal. The leftover Sweet Pongal is laid on a turmeric leaf in the courtyard by the women of the home in a unique ritual.