How do We Celebrate the Pongal Festival? Pongal 2021
Pongal Festival – The festivities of Pongal date back at least 2,000 years, as evidence, shows that it was celebrated even during the days of the Medieval Chola Empire. It is traditionally a day to thank and praise the Sun God for helping to grow crops by providing energy for their growth as it depends on the survival of the farmers. One such festival is Pongal, which is celebrated to thank the Sun God and Lord Indra for helping farmers get crops that grow better.
Pongal marks the beginning of the Uttarayan or the date of the northward journey of the sun which means that the days are starting to be longer than nights. People make their houses and surroundings spotless and there to celebrate the auspicious time. For the four days of the festival, the whole family takes a bath early in the morning and wears traditional clothes.
Pongal festival represents a time of prosperity, harmony, and joy. People thoroughly clean their homes on the first day, known as Bhogi, and all unwanted products are lit in a bonfire in the evening. Perum Pongal, the most popular day, is the second one. It is also called Surya Pongal because people worship Surya, the Sun God, and his consorts. Women decorate the central courtyard of their homes.
Women wear colourful and new sarees and men wear silk dhotis. Women decorate the entrance of the house with Kolam or Rangoli which is a significant feature of the festival. It is a paste made from the flour of rice. This white paste is considered to be pious and it is used by people to draw beautiful patterns and designs outside the houses or puja region thresholds. During the festival, getting sugarcane is another tradition.
Pongal is a four-day festival that is celebrated in the state of Tamil Nadu. Usually, it falls in the month of January. It is celebrated to thank the Sun God and Lord Indra for their blessings on farmers during the year to grow and produce better crops.
For Tamilians, it’s a holy festival as they reap the first harvest of the year.
Here’s how Pongal can be celebrated.
First day – Bhogi Pongal
Lord Indra, is prayed on the first day of Pongal, Bhogi. Any household object that is useless is thrown into a bonfire on this day and all the clutter is cleared to mark the day. The bonfire consists of cakes made of cow dung and wood. The day marks the beginning of the festival.
Second day – Thai Pongal
This is a day dedicated to the Lord of the Light. Families prepare a meal on this day, known as Pongal. Rice, milk, green gram, jiggery, nuts, and dried fruits are cooked in a clay pot under the sun. The Lord of the Sun is first served then the families and neighbours sit together and share the dish with each other.
Day 3 — Mattu Pongal
Mattu Pongal is dedicated to cows on the third day. Cows and cattle are decorated and revered with bells, maize sheaves, and garlands. They are fed a feast and then taken on rounds to the temple and outside. People believe that Gods themselves come and bless in the form of the cows on that day.
Fourth day – Kaanum Pongal
Pongal’s last day is marked as Kaanum (or Kanu). On this day, on behalf of their brothers, the women of the household conduct a ceremony and pray for their prosperity. The leftover Pongal sweets and other food are set out in the courtyard there. They, along with betel leaves, betel nuts, and sugar cane, are put on a washed turmeric leaf.
An integral part of Pongal is also presenting gifts to workers, families, family, and friends. The exclusive gifts given to the staff on Pongal are called Pongal padi or Pongal parisu. Although one can choose to offer something, during Pongal, there are some traditional gifts given. People give clothes or household decorative items or anything useful or new to their friends and relatives.
Must read – Holi – Festival of Colours
Pongal marks the new beginning of everything good and leading towards prosperity. There is a belief that whatever you begin in this period will definitely lead you to a fruitful future and endless benefits for life. The festival marks the start of everything good not only for the farmers but for everyone in this world. Pongal is one of the most popular festivals for Hindu families in Tamil Nadu and is celebrated with great exuberance for four days. Pongal is also the name of the dish prepared for the festival.
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Happy Pongal all of you.
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