Four days of sweet celebrations

Pongal vibrates with tradition and culture and is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai. Though it is celebrated in cities and towns, the real flavour of Pongal can be seen and felt only in our villages. It is the harvest festival of Tamils because new crops are harvested and as a token of thanksgiving, people worship the sun god. The fresh harvest is cooked as pongal and offered as prasadam. ‘Pongu’ means ‘to boil’. Milk is boiled and pongal cooked in it for the festival.

Pongal is celebrated for four days in mid-January every year and marks the auspicious beginning of Uttarayan (sun’s journey towards the north). The four days are: Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal (Thai Pongal), Maattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal.

During Bhogi, before sunrise, villagers burn the waste stuff at home which symbolizes the burning of all evil. Children beat drums, known as ‘Boghi kottu’ and dance around the fire.

The second day is dedicated to the worship of sun god. In the village, people take the first harvest and prepare a sweet dish to start the year sweetly and pleasantly. Chakkara pongal is prepared on the second day to mark Pongal festival with dedication and devotion and offer to the gods.

The third day is dedicated to cattle, especially the cow. The highlight of Maattu Pongal is jallikattu, where wild bulls are tamed by courageous youngsters.

In villages, the cattle go on a tour of the village decorated with colorful ribbons and painted horns. Tinkling bells are fastened to their necks and the pleasant sound fills the air.

Bullock carts are packed with people chanting ‘Pongalo Pongal’ and visiting each and every house, collecting gifts.

On Kaanum Pongal day, people travel to see their relations and visit places of interest and importance. Marina beach in Chennai is crowded but many of us are averse to go there because of the crowd.

Pongal is best celebrated and observed in the villages which are the soul of India.



Hepsy evangeline

Anisha mercy


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