PONGAL Festival India 2023

  • TypeType: Cultural
  • Dates: 14-Jan to 17-Jan-2023
  • Location:Tamil Nadu

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Pongal is four days long harvesting festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu in January. It is the occasion to thank mother nature for celebrating the life cycles that give us grain. Pongal festival is four days- each day has a different significance.Pongal festival in India marks a period of plenty, peace, and happiness. At the same time, each of its days marks a special religious significance. The main Pongal day is Thai Pongal, i.e., the second day of Pongal. In Tamil, Pongal means 'boiling over in English.

HISTORY OF PONGAL

According to Andrea Gutiérrez - A scholar of Sanskrit and Tamil traditions, the history of the Pongal dish in a festive and religious context can be traced to at least the Chola period. Some of the major temple inscriptions from the Chola Dynasty to Vijayanagara Empire periods include detailed recipes which are essentially the same as thePongal recipes of the modern era, but for the variations in seasonings and relative amounts of the ingredients. Further, the terms Ponakam, Ponkal, and its prefixed variants have meant either the festive Pongal dish asPrasadam or the Pongal dish as part of the entire thali.

RITUALS OF PONGAL

People worship the Sun, mother earth, and cattle as they play a major role in harvesting and growing rice paddy. A sweet dish is prepared on the festival's first day, called "Pongal." This sweet dish is made on earthen pots by decorating them with kumkum and swastika marks and then filling them with rice, jaggery, milk, water, cardamom, and some dry fruits of personal choice. According to the ritual associated with this festival, rice is cooked in the courtyard or the open fields. Locals firmly believe that the sun is watching the preparations, and thus, they try to please and worship the sun god. In the morning, people go and bathe in rivers and lakes. They wear new clothes and offer rice to the sun god, and they, too, eat rice. In the evening, they visit their relatives and distribute the rice. Cattle are being decorated and worshipped by the farmers because they helped a lot in growing paddy on the Muttu Pongal, i.e., on the third day. A traditional way of wishing is "Pongal-o Pongal," which is often said right after the Pongal has boiled on the stove. In the village, kids would dance and sing 'Pongal-o Pongal.' Loosely translated, this means, 'It's boiling over, oh! It's boiling over!"

CELEBRATIONS OF PONGAL

The celebrations begin on the first day with Bhogi Pongal, as a fresh harvest of rice, sugarcane, and turmeric is brought from the fields. Old and useless domestic articles are burnt along with cow dung as part of the ritual of Bhogi Mantalu. The second day of the festival, also known as Surya Pongal or Thai Pongal, is dedicated to the Sun God and the first day of the Tamil month Thai.

On this day, women wake up early in the morning, clean their houses and decorate homes with beautiful kolam (a type of rangoli) designs. On this day, the freshly harvested rice is boiled in pots along with milk and jaggery till they overflow and spill. The ceremony captures the essence of the word Pongal, which means to boil or overflow. The Sun God is offered this dessert before it's served to the family members on banana leaves.

KEY ATTRACTIONS OF PONGAL

  • Bullfighting
  • Folk and cultural programs
  • Sweet Pongal, kolukattai, mango chutney, and other delicacies
  • Sugarcane is consumed a lot during this festival. Try som
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FAQs about PONGAL FESTIVAL

Q.What is Pongal?
Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated to thank the Sun, Mother Nature, and the various farm animals that help contribute to a bountiful harvest.
Q.How does everyone greet each other on Pongal?
A traditional way of wishing is "Pongal-o Pongal," which is often said right after the Pongal has boiled on the stove.
Q.How long is Pongal celebrated?
Pongal is celebrated for four days, and each day has a different significance. First is Bhogi Pongal, second is Surya Pongal, third is Maatu Pongal, and last is Kaanum Pongal.
Q.What is the special dish made on the occasion of Pongal?
A sweet dish is prepared on the first day of the festival called "Pongal" on earthen pots by filling them with rice, jaggery, milk, water, cardamom, and some dry fruits of personal choice.