Pongal is one of the prime and significant festivals in Southern India, particularly in the Tamil community, known as the Hindu harvest festival. In the Tamil solar calendar, each year, the festival arrives in the month ‘Tai’ (typically 14th-17th January) near the festival Lohri or Makar Sankranti.
Types of Pongal:
Pongal is the harvest festival that commences around four days, dedicated to different deities-
- Bhogi Pongal: The first day of the festivity is dedicated to Lord of the rain Indra. People pray to him for the prosperity of their agricultural land. On his day, some set of Bhogi Mantalu rituals are also conducted in some rural areas. People perform dancing and singing around the bonfire, showing their gratitude to Lord Indra.
- Thai Pongal: It is the second yet prime day of the celebration, dedicated to the Hindu sun god Surya. The day is named Surya Pongal also.
- Mattu Pongal: The day is to worship the cows as cows play an influential role in the farmers’ life. Here is the significance of Mattu Pongal–
- Kanum Pongal: Kanum or Knau Pongal is the last day of the Pongal festival. On this sacred day, all the women gather in the courtyard to pray for their brothers and family’s prosperity. They perform Aarti with turmeric water, rice, vermillion, limestone.
Significance of Pongal festival:
These four days are considered the holiest of the month, among which the 5th day carries more major significance. Pongal festivity marks the end of the winter solstice. Tamilians celebrate the Pongal festival by preparing their traditional dish from the newly harvested rice boiled in milk with jaggery, as the name Pongal signifies “to boil, overflow.”
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