is a highly sacred festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu to mark the
harvesting season..It is celebrated as 'Makara Sankaranthi' in
different regions across India and this usually falls in the mid of
January...Pongal is celebrated by offering prayers to the Sun God.. The
houses are cleaned and well decorated before Pongal'
Meaning of Pongal Pongal
literally means "Boiling over" and it signifies the arrival of
prosperity and is associated with the harvest by thanking the sun god,
rain and the farm animals that have helped in the harvest. In villages,
people owning cows find this festival important.
or 'Thai Pongal' is also called 'Makara Sankaranthi', since it is
celebrated on the first day of Thai when the Sun enters the Makara Rasi (Capricornus). This signals the end of winter and the onset of spring throughout the northern hemisphere
Usually, the festival takes place January 12 -15 (on the Gregorian calendar). The festival is celebrated four days from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi (December-January) to the third day of Thai (January-February).
is normally celebrated over a period of four days.. Pongal festival
spans over four days period. Each of these days hold a significance of
Let's take a look how each day of this four day Pongal festival hold significance.
* Bogi Festival
* Surya Pongal
* Mattu Pongal
* Kaanum Pongal
Bogi Festival Bogi
festival or Bhogi is the first day of Pongal celebrated in honor of
Lord Indra, "the God of Clouds and Rains" is also known as Indran
Legends say that on this day that Lord krishna lifted the Govardhan mountains on his little finger.
There is a tradition to purchase new clothes, sugarcane and new vessel to cook pongal on Bhogi day
the houses from the richest to the humblest are thoroughly scrubbed and
whitewashed. Homes are cleaned and decorated with "Kolam" - floor
designs drawn in the white paste of newly harvested rice with outlines
of red mud. Often pumpkin flowers are set into cow-dung balls and
placed among the patterns. Fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and
sugarcane is brought in from the field as preparation for the following
ritual observed on this day is Bhogi Mantalu, when useless household
articles are thrown into a fire made of wood and cow-dung cakes. This
bonfire is mainly made out of old clothes, files, mats and rugs etc.
The event of putting the junk on the fire is called the Bhogi Neruppu (Bhogi fire)
Surya Pongal Surya
Pongal and is dedicated to Surya (Sun God). It is the day on which the
celebration actually begins and is also the first day of the Tamil
The saying "Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum" which
means "the birth of the month of 'Thai' will pave a way for new
opportunities" is often quoted regarding the Pongal festival.
wake early on this day to create elaborate colorful rangoli (pongal
kolam) on the grounds in front of their doorway or home.
Every member of the family gets up early in the morning, bathes, puts on new clothes and gathers to cook the traditional pongal
this day the new rice is collected and cooked in pots until they
overflow. The pot, in which the Pongal is cooked, is decorated with
flowers, sugarcane pieces, turmeric plant, etc.
Pongalo Pongal,Pongalo PongalIt
is this overflowing which means Pongal. This overflowing of rice is a
joyous occasion, and the children and adults as well will shout out
'Pongal-o Pongal!'' The first offering is made to the Sun Maattu Pongal Mattu pongal which is the festival of cattle. Cow (Gomaatha),
the giver of milk and the bull, which draws the plough in the fields,
are very valuable for the people specially the ones who live in
villages .So the farmers honor their cattle friends by celebrating it
as a day of thanks giving to them.
The cattle are washed; their
horns are painted and covered with shining metal caps. Multi-colored
beads, tinkling bells, sheaf's of corn and flower garlands are tied
around their necks. They are fed with pongal and taken to the village
centers. On the Mattu Pongal day Lord Ganesh and Goddess Parvati are
worshipped and Pongal is offered to them in the 'puja'.Legend of Mattu PongalAccording
to a legend, once Shiva asked his bull, Basava, to go to the earth and
ask the mortals to have an oil massage and bath every day and to eat
once a month. Inadvertently, Basava announced that everyone should eat
daily and have an oil bath once a month. This mistake enraged Shiva who
then cursed Basava, banishing him to live on the earth forever. He
would have to plough the fields and help people produce more food. Thus
this day is associated with cattle.
Kaanum Pongal This
day is also known by the name of Kaanum Pongal when colored balls of
cooked rice are placed in the open air by girls for the birds and crows
to eat. With each ball of rice that the sister makes she prays for her
brother's happiness and the brothers and sisters wherever they may be
remember each other'
Arati is performed for the brothers with
turmeric water, limestone and rice, and this water is sprinkled on the
kolam in front of the house.
In few places this day is also
known as Karinaal or Thiruvalluvar Day. This day is dedicated to the
sun god, Surya and has its roots in ancient Brahminical tradition.
Since Pongal is a rural, agrarian based festival that celebrates the
harvests, the sun is a vital part of the proceedings. This is because
the Sun is the symbol of life on Earth.
Jallikattu- The 'Bull Festival' Jallikattu
is arranged in many places like Madurai, Tiruchirapalli and Tanjavur on
this day. It is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part
of Pongal celebration. This is one of the oldest living ancient sports
seen in the modern era.
The term 'Jallikattu' comes from the term "Salli" kaassu (coins) and "Kattu" (meaning a package)
tied to the horns of the bulls as the prize money. Later days during
the colonial period this term got changed to Jallikattu which is the
term currently used
Jallikattu is based on the simple concept of
"flight or fight". cattle being herd and prey animals in general tend
to run away from unwanted situations..
This sport is also known as "Manju Virattu", meaning "chasing the bull".
Pongal Special Festival means a chance to have lots of sweets...Besides the preparation of Pongal or the special sweet rice pongal is
also the time to prepare some of the mouth-watering Tamil delicacies
like Sakkarai Pongal(Sweet Pongal),Ven Pongal (Butter Pongal),Payasam(Sweet pudding),Aval Payasam,Murukku etc.
Significance of Sugarcane During PongalEver
wondered why is sugarcane an indispensable part of Pongal? Sugarcane
symbolizes sweetness and happiness. But there is also a myth associated
with the widespread use of Sugarcane during Pongal.
is said that on a 'Perum Pongal day', Lord Shiva performed the miracle
of feeding sugarcane to a stone image of an elephant in the Madurai
Lord Shiva is known as Lord Sundareshwar in Meenakshi temple and there is a stone carving based on the event in the temple
Wishing You All A Very Happy Pongal
Ellorum Iniya Pongal Nal Vaazhthukkal
Edited by anjkhoney - 12 January 2010 at 10:19am