Pongal Celebrations in India

Pongal Celebrations in India: The pious Hindu Tamil harvest festival that is celebrated in the mid of January is called as Pongal or Thai Pongal. It is mainly celebrated in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is a four day festival that normally commences on January 13 to January 16 and only sometimes from January 14 to January 17. The festival corresponds to the the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai and hence, the name Thai Pongal.

Pongal is like a thanksgiving day on which nature is thanked for the harvest. Pongal got its name from the Tamil word that means ‘to boil’. The festival is celebrated in the month of January when the crops like rice and other cereals, turmeric and sugar-cane are harvested. The festival of Pongal is a thanksgiving day to nature for all the harvest. Tamils living in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Africa, Canada, Mauritius, Singapore, USA and UK celebrate this awesome festival.

India celebrates Makara Sankranthi on the same day when Tamil Nadu celebrates Pongal. It is believed that the sun starts its six month journey to the North Pole from this day. The first boiled rice of the harvest are offered to the sun and other Gods and Goddesses.

The First Day of Pongal Celebrations

Pongal Celebrations in India

The first day of Pongal is called as Bhogi and it is the festival that is dedicated to Lord Indra. Offerings are offered to Lord Indra for the abundance of harvest as a matter of his blessings. Bhogi Mantalu is a ritual that is associated with the first day of Pongal when useless and old household articles like wood and cow dung cakes are burnt in the bonfires and it is celebrated by singing and dancing around the bonfire.

See also  Diwali Celebrations in India

The Second Day of Pongal Celebrations

Pongal Celebrations in India

Worshipping is done on the second day of Pongal when rice is boiled in milk outside in the earthenware pots and then offered to the Sun God. A turmeric plant is tied around the neck of the pot in which rice is boiled. Coconut and bananas are also kept in the dish to be offered and two sugar-cane sticks are also kept in the background.

The Third Day of Pongal Celebrations

Pongal Celebrations in India

The third day of Pongal is called as Mattu Pongal. Mattu Pongal is dedicated to cows. Not only are cows, but other cattle are also worshipped on this day. Around the cattle’s necks, auspicious things like tinkling bells, flower garlands, sheaves of corn and other multi-colored beads are also tied. Arti is then performed on them.

The Fourth Day of Pongal Celebrations

Pongal Celebrations in India

Knau or Kannum Pongal is the name that is given to the fourth day of Pongal. On this day, the left over sweet Pongal and Venn Pongal, ordinary rice as well as rice colored red and yellow, betel nuts, betel leaves, turmeric leaves, two pieces of sugarcane, and plantains are placed on a washed turmeric leaf. Artis are performed by the women for their brothers using turmeric water, limestone and rice and then, that water is sprinkled in front of the house.