Tamil Nadu Festivals »
Month : Mid January
Significance: End of the harvest season.
Pongal is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month 'Thai'. The
word Pongal which literally means 'boiling over' refers to rice cooked
in milk and jaggery. 'Pongal' is a celebration of spring on the occasion
of the 'ascent' of the
sun to the north. It is the celebration of the harvest season. It is
celebrated for three days or four days in Tamil Nadu. The first
day called 'Bhogi Pongal', is dedicated to Lord Indra; ruler of
the clouds and rain for providing rain for the harvest, the second day
'Surya Pongal' (14th January) is dedicated to the sun god 'Surya' and
the third day 'Mattu Pongal' , is dedicated to the worship and veneration
of cattle (mattu) for plowing the fields. On the second day, people
make Pongal; 'ven
pongal' and 'Chakhara Pongal' made of rice and jaggery, seasoned with
ghee, cashew nut and other spices. It is a speciality of the occasion.
On the final day they also have pass times like 'jallikettu' or manji
virattu. Jallikettu is a kind of bull fight where decorated bulls are
driven out into the open with money bags tied around their necks and
any one who manages to mount the bulls and ride them can claim the bags.
pongal is the day for spring cleaning. All old
and unwanted things are thrown away or burnt. At that time boys beat little
drums known as ' Bhogi Kottu' which are specially made for the occasion with
buffalo hide. Then Kolams (Special designs) are drawn on the floor with the
paste of newly harvested rice. During Surya Pongal, pongal is
boiled by women, allowed to boil over and offered to the sun. Friends greet one another by asking
whether rice is boiled. A special ritual of seeing the reflection of the
sun in a metal plate full of water is performed. During Mattu pongal, the cattle are bathed, decorated and their horns are painted in bright
colours. On this day, pujas are performed for goddess Parvathi and the
pongal made is offered to her and Ganesha.
Coloured balls of the pongal are also made given to the cattle and left in the open for birds.
is prepared in two big earthen pots called 'Pongal Panai' and it is
offered to a special miniature Ganesh made of cow-dung. This Ganesh
is decorated with arugampal, thumbai flowers and avarama flowers. Special
'kolam' is drawn on the floor, decorated with red sand and the pongal pots
placed over it. Turmeric, ginger, sugar cane, yellow garlands and a stick
(adalikkombu) used to drive the bulls is offered to Ganesh in Puja. The
fourth day is 'Kanum Pongal' which is a time for rest and is considered
inauspicious and the fifth day is 'Kanya Pongal' when married women visit
their parents home and the brothers give presents to their sisters.
More Festivals in January-Tamil Nadu