Pongal Festival Date
Pongal Festival and Fairs is celebrated on the same dates every year, hence falls on the 14th – 17th of January.
About Pongal Festival
India is bestowed with the bliss of festivity. A major segment of the population here depends on agriculture. As a result, most of the festivals are also related to the agricultural activities of the people. These festivals are celebrated with different names and rituals in almost all the parts of India. Pongal is one of such highly revered festivals celebrated in Tamil Nadu to mark the harvesting of crops by farmers. Held in the middle of January, Pongal festival is the time when the people get ready to thank God, Earth and their Cattle for the wonderful harvest and celebrate the occasion with joyous festivities and rituals. The colorful sight of the Pongal festival is definitely a must watch for every visitor.
The four-day Harvest festival is celebrated all over the state in January. The festival begins on the last day of the Tamil month with Bhogi Pongal followed by Surya Pongal on the next day. It is on this day that Chakkara Pongal, a delicacy of harvest rice cooked with jaggery, ghee and cashew nuts is offered to the Sun God. The third day, Mattu Pongal is dedicated to the Cattle when cows are bathed and adorned with colorful beads and flowers. Jallikattu, the bullfight is held on the last day known as Kannum Pongal.
Pongal Festival Celebrations
Bhogi Pongal – The First day !
The first day of the Pongal festival is called Bhogi. On Bhogi all people clean out their homes from all corners, and collect all unwanted goods. In the evening, people light bonfires and burn what can be burnt.
Surya Pongal – The Second day !
The second day of the Pongal Festival, Surya Pongal, is the day on which the celebrations actually begin. It is the first day of the Tamil month Thai. On this day, Surya, the sun God is worshipped and women will wake early on this day to create elaborate Pongal kolam on the grounds in front of their doorway or home. Pongal Kolams are created with colored rice flour placed on the ground carefully by using one’s hand.
Maatu Pongal – The Third day!
The third day is called Maatu Pongal, maatu meaning cattle. This day is devoted to paying homage to cattle. Cows and Bulls are decorated with paint and bells and people pray to them.
Kaanum Pongal – The Fourth day!
The fourth day of Pongal Festival is termed as Kaanum Pongal. On this day, Pongal celebrations take another form. People travel to see other family members and greet each other with warmth and happiness in heart.
The literal meaning of the word Pongal is ‘boiling over’. The traditional preparation goes like this:
– Rice, moong dal, jaggery and milk are mixed together and boiled in the open earthern pot.
– Around the pot fresh turmeric is tied.
– The concoction is allowed to boil over as it is considered extremely auspicious and a sign of prosperity and good harvest.
– Cashew nuts and raisins, fried in pure ghee, are used to decorate the preparation.
The preparation itself takes into consideration the auspicious time as the starting and the ending time of the cooking is pre decided. The Pongal offering is made to the god together with vegetables, lentils and newly harvested sugarcane and bananas. Afterwards, the entire family eats the Pongal together