Pongal is the festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the main festivals of Tamil Nadu and is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and vigour. Pongal is celebrated on the 14th January, it is a four-day harvest festival during the solar equinox.
As per the Tamil calendar, the Pongal days will correspond with the Tamil year Margazhi to the 3rd day of the Tamil month Thai.
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Importance of Pongal Festival
There are different types of Pongal and each day of the four days has its importance. The first day is called Bhogi Pongal, the second day which is considered the most important day of the Pongal festival is known as Thai Pongal. Third and fourth days are called Mattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal respectively.
Pongal depicts a message of letting the old things go away and the new things come in!
Fun Fact: Along with Pongal, there are two other harvesting festivals which are being celebrated on 14th January. It is Onam and Lohri in Kerala and Punjab respectively.
Let’s now know the significance of each day of Pongal.
Day 1: Bhogi Pongal
Bhogi Pongal is day 1 of Pongal, and on this day, people offer their prayers to Lord Indra for blessing the land with rain yielding to a good harvest. On this day they also clean their houses.
Day 2: Surya Pongal/ Thai Pongal
This day is dedicated to Lord Sun as the name suggests. Lord Sun is worshipped on this day and there are offerings of milk and jaggery. This is the main day of the 4-day long festival. Along with Pongal, there are various other dishes that are served on this day.
Day 3: Mattu Pongal
This day is dedicated to cattles like cows, bulls, and other farm animals who play a significant role in the contribution of agriculture. The cattle are dressed up before they are prayed.
Day 4: Kaanum Pongal
Kaanum Pongal is the day dedicated to socializing. On this day relatives go ahead to each other’s home and exchange sweets and goodies. Rangoli is drawn outside the houses as it shows the sign of prosperity and well-being.
On the Thai Pongal Day
On the day of Pongal, the Pongal food is cooked at sunrise in an open place. People cook rice, milk together and let the milk come to a boil. Milk is allowed to spill over as this is considered auspicious. Once it is cooked, it is tempered with ghee, cashew nuts, raisins, and jaggery. This dish is known as Ponga,l and it is served to Sun god once it is cooked, thanking him for the harvest. The Pongal is later served to the people in the house.
Do you know the festival name which is celebrated on 14th January in Gujarat?
Many of you may guess it right. Yaas, it’s Makar Sankranti, popularly known as the kite flying festival.
The significance to celebrate Pongal is to thank God Sun (Surya Dev)and Lord Indra for yielding a good harvest.
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History of Pongal Festival
History about Pongal is that Lord Shiva once sent Basava to visit Earth and inform him to ask humans to have an oil massage and bath every day. But the informer instead asked to eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. Lord Shiva was furious and cursed him to live on the Earth forever. Asking him to plough the fields and help people produce more food. Hence, after harvesting, people celebrate this festival with crops and cattle.
Though Pongal is celebrated as the main festival in Tamil Nadu, it is also celebrated at other places such as Andra Pradesh, Sri-Lanka, Maldives. It is one of the festivals that can boost following the Solar Calendar. The name of Pongal is named after the sweet dish Pongal ( Rice Kheer) that is served during the festival.
Apiary from Pongal, they are various other South-Indian delicacies that are served as Pongal Food.
Pongal and Astrology
Pongal signifies a great start in astrology as this is the time when the Sun moves towards the North for the next 6 months. This is considered an auspicious time in Hinduism, as opposed to the one where the Sun moves towards the South. Hence, many auspicious events are held during this period!
We wish you all a very Happy Pongal! May you have a very great harvest festival!
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