Pongal is the most enchanting harvest festival in South India that particularly celebrated in the Tamil Nadu region. It is observed as the thanksgiving festival to the almighty for providing the prosperous crops during harvest season and continues for four days. It is also celebrated as the onset of Tamil New year.
Time to Celebrate:
Pongal is widely celebrated in Thai month of Tamil calendar which usually comes on 14th or 15th January every year.
Each festival day of four days Pongal celebration holds unique kind of rituals and celebrations that collectively followed by the people of Tamil Nadu. The word Pongal derived its name from the Tamil word that means ‘boiling’ hence during this festival boiling of rice mixed in fresh milk with jaggery in earthen pots are considered auspicious a symbol of good luck. People started preparations much earlier for the much awaited festival where they washed the homes and decorated them beautifully with rangolis, wear new clothes and make various delicious dishes. They used to go to relatives and neigh borers as a social gathering and congratulate each other. The first day is celebrated as Bhogi festival in honor of Lord Indra in order to show the gratitude for giving the good rains then the second day a ceremonial pooja is performed when rice is boiled in milk outdoors in a earthenware pot and is then symbolically offered to the sun-god along with other oblations. The third day is known as Mattu Pongal,which is specific day for cows, who adorned with multi colored beads, little ringing bells, sheaves of corn and flower garlands are tied around the neck of the cattle and then worshiped. The Fourth day is known as Kanu or Kannum Pongal day, when female members of house followed a traditional ritual. Only female members can perform this ritual before bathing in the morning. All the women, young and old, of the house assemble in the courtyard and participate for the prosperity and brotherhood among the house.