"Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum"
"the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities"
right here in our Tamil Section!!!
Pongal is a highly sacred festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka to mark the harvesting season. The South Indians celebrate this festival and it always falls in the middle of January...Pongal is celebrated by offering prayers to the Sun God, Surya. It is a four days long festival, whereby the farmers bask in joyful celebrations.
The houses are cleaned and well decorated before Pongal.
Each of these days hold a significance of its own
The first day is a tribute to the God of Rain and it is known as 'Bogi' festival. This day falls before Pongal on the 13th of January. On this day, Hindus will burn rubbish & unwanted items from their houses. The Hindus feel that this practice of burning rubbish in fire is like getting rid of the bad and evil from their houses.
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 month Thai.
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.
Women 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
On 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 Pongal
It 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
The third day is known as 'maathu pongal' where the people offer their thanks to their cattle, especially to the cows. Cows are decorated with bells hanging around their necks and served milk and food. If you are a tourist who visits Tamil Nadu around this festive period, you will find it an unusual sight to see cows being lavished with flower garlands and bells. On this day, farmers would also proudly parade their cows in the village after feeding them.
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.
Overall, Pongal is a popular and important festival for all farmers in Tamil Nadu.
Preparations for this festival start early and the first thing that is always found in Hindu homes before the start of Pongal is the 'kolam'. This is a form of decoration for the Hindus' homes. This decorative pattern is made with rice flour & is usually drawn on the floor outside the door. The kolams serve as a symbol of welcoming guests to the entrance of the house. In order to prepare for the festival, old clothes are thrown away before the festival starts. The houses are cleaned and decorated to prepare for Pongal. For the festival, the Hindus buy new clothes and the ladies of the households would prepare sweetmeats. There is also a belief in the Hindus that the harvest festival will bring great wealth and goodness to their homes. During the festival entertaining events like bullfights would also be organized.
Friends, we wish you all a Happy Pongal !
This year, we will be celebrating Pongal on India-forums.com by launching Masti Team's first fun filled contest! Hope to see you all take part in it!
~Special Credits to Anjkhoney and Atina for the written content~
Edited by MP_Radha - 14 January 2011 at 9:55am