- May 19, 2023
Table of Contents
Clay Pot Rice to the Sun God
Sugarcane to the Cows and Oxen
Sweets to the Family and Friends
Thanks to the Almighty
for all the blessings and yield…!!!
Pongal is the first festival that is celebrated after the New Year. It is a four days long harvest festival. The four days of the Pongal festival are called Bhogi (the last day of Margazhi), The Pongal (people worship the Sun God for the yield), Mattu Pongal (giving thanks to the cattle that helped the farmers to raise their crops) and Kaanum Pongal (often acknowledged as Thiruvalluvar Day and also as a day where women pray the Sun God for the well being of their brothers). The festival is usually observed in the start of the Tamil Month Thai that is mid-January. The Harvest Festival is celebrated as a tribute to the Sun God, thanking for the yield. The festival is celebrated under many regional names throughout India.
Pongal / Makara Sankranti – the traditional Indian harvest festival is a four-day long festival and is celebrated during mid-January marking from January 15, 2023 to January 18, 2023.
Festivals are generally celebrations that represent our culture, heritage or religious significance. Pongal is basically celebrated by the people belonging to Hindu religion. Pongal is celebrated in many regions across India and is celebrated as a thanksgiving festival where people thank the Sun God for all the blessings and yield. Apart from India, Pongal serves as a major festival in countries like Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, etc.,
The history of Pongal goes a long way back. Some people say Pongal is mentioned in the Sanskrit Puranas of Dravidian Era, while some historians mention that the Pongal festival is celebrated in the name of “Indra Vizha” in the Sangam Age. Indra Vizha came into existence when rice and lentils became the major yielding crops. Farmers celebrated Indra Vizha as a Thanksgiving Carnival to thank Lord Indra, the Sun God and Nature for their blessings and yield. Later, Indra Vizha and the Harvest Festival are celebrated together as “Pongal”. Some mentions about the Pongal Festival are as follows:
There said many stories regarding how the harvest festival Pongal came into existence and why is it celebrated and a few of them are given below:
Once Lord Shiva sent his bull Basava down to the earth and ordered him to ask people on earth to eat once a month and have an oil massage bath every day. But, unintentionally Basava informed them to eat every day and have an oil massage bath once a month. Raged with anger, Lord Shiva expelled Basava from Kaylaya and banished him to live on earth forever and hence he happened to help people on earth to produce more food. Farmers started celebrating Pongal to show their gratitude towards Basava who helped in producing more food and hence people celebrate cattle during the festival as a means of thanksgiving.
This story revolves around how Lord Krishan shattered the vanity of Lord Indra after becoming the king of all deities. Krishna stopped all cattle herds from worshipping Indra. Later, the furious Lord Indra sent his clouds to cause thunderstorms and floods. Lord Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan providing shelter to all beings thereby proving Lord Indra his divinity. Lord Indra who hurt his pride, realized his mistake and apologized to Lord Krishna.
Pongal is widely celebrated in the Southern States of India including TamilNadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Puducherry. Apart from India, Pongal serves as a major festival in countries like Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, etc.,
Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala Pongal is celebrated as a four day long festival.
Day 1 – Bhogi
Bhogi marks the last day of the tamil month Marghazhi and is celebrated to welcome the new start of the harvest month “Thai”. The concept of celebrating Bhogi is “Leaving your past behind and giving place to a new start”.
Day 2 – Suryan Pongal
Suryan Pongal marks the first day of “Thai”. This is celebrated to the Sun God for all the blessings and yield. People prepare sweet rice in clay pots and serve it to the God Sun as a part of their thanksgiving.
Day 3 – Mattu Pongal
People celebrate their bulls and cows which helped for their yield by bathing them and painting their horns.
Day 4 – Kaanum Pongal
Kaanum Pongal is often acknowledged as Thiruvalluvar Day and also as a day where women pray to the Sun God for the well being of their brothers.
In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the harvest festival is called as Pedda Panduga. Just like Tamil Nadu, Pedda Panduga is also celebrated for four days in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Pongal is celebrated in the name of Makara Sankranthi in Karnataka and Maharastra. People celebrate the festival by decorating their cattle and feeding them sweet rice pongal. A special dish made of sesame and sugar is also made.
Pongal – the harvest festival is usually considered as a “thanksgiving” festival. Farmers celebrate Pongal to thank the Sun God and Lord Indra for better yielding. They also decorate their cattle which helped in producing crops and thank them.
The Pongal celebration usually begins with the preparation of the special dish “Pongal” made by boiling the harvested rice along with milk and jaggery. People then serve it to the God Sun as a means of thanksgiving. Various traditional games including Jallikattu, Silambam, Uri adithal, etc., are also played during the festival.
The evenings of Pongal are always filled with laughter as playing games become an integral part of these celebrations. Some of the traditional games played during the festival include:
Folk Dance forms such as Puli Vesham, Karagam, Oliyattam, etc., are also performed during the festival.
Pongal – the traditional harvest festival has its own set of traditional food recipes.
Poli is traditional Indian flat bread stuffed with sweetened lentils.
It is a dessert made with rice, milk and sugar and can be served hot or chilled.
Sesame Laddo is made as balls using roasted sesame and jaggery.
Pongal o Pongal!!!