Festivals are a time of togetherness, one that binds the entire family into a bond of love and happiness. Celebrating festivals with the loved ones is like a breath of fresh air! Especially, when it comes to Pongal, what matters is the togetherness of the family members during the celebration of the festival. Being a harvest festival, Pongal is celebrated for a total of four days, with namely, Bhogi, Thai Pongal, Maatu Pongal, and Kaanum Pongal as the key celebrations of the four days. The festival of Pongal is celebrated for good luck, and prosperity that it brings along.
Pongal or Thai Pongal is a major festival of South India and is celebrated annually in the month of January. It is also called as Makar Sankranti in North India. This auspicious day signals the end of winters and onset of spring season. Pongal is a colorful festival which is celebrated all across the world with grandeur. Pongal is a Thanksgiving festival where people thank the Sun God and the cattle for a great and plentiful harvest and seek blessings. This 4-day festival is the most awaited festival of the Tamilians all around the world.
Pongal is celebrated on the first day of Thai month when the Sun enters the zodiac sign of Makar (Capricorn) which marks the end of winter. It signals that for the next six months, the days will be longer and warmer. This period is considered very auspicious as it is believed that the Devas wake up after a six month long duration. It is a four-day festival and is also known as Bhogi Pongal, Perum Pongal or Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal. This grand occasion is to thank the almighty for a great harvest and to make your home and your body ready to accept new beginnings. People throw their old household items in the bonfire while chanting “Paraiyana kadiwalum, Pudiyana Pugudulam” which means, “let the old things go away and let the new things and blessings come in.”
Pongal or Thai Pongal is one of the biggest festivals for Tamilians and is celebrated not only in India but across the world with great pomp. Indian diaspora is the largest in the world out of which the major portion are the Indian Tamilians. They are spread in large numbers across different countries such that their culture and rituals have become an integral part of the local culture of that country. The four days of Pongal celebrations are-
The day going before Pongal is called Bhogi. On this day individuals let go of old effects and celebrate new beginnings, new belongings. Houses are cleaned, painted and enhanced to give a joyous look. The horns of bulls and wild oxen are painted in towns.
Thai Pongal happens on the second of four days. Pongal in Tamil means ‘overflowing’. It signifies prosperity and abundance. As for the houses, they are decorated brightly with banana leaves and decorative Kolam.
Maatu Pongal is praised the day after Thai Pongal. Tamils view cows as wellsprings of riches for giving dairy items, compost, and work for furrowing and transportation. On Maatu Pongal, dairy cattle are perceived and managed warmly. Highlights of the day incorporate diversions, for example, the Jallikkattu and subduing bull.
The last but not the least is Kaanum Pongal. It marks the end of Pongal festivities in India. Kaanum means “to visit”. They again decorate their homes with Kolam. Some families also hold reunions on this day.