Pongal is one of the most popular Hindu harvest festivals in Tamilnadu, the southern part of India. Pongal is celebrated for four days during the starting of the holiest month, according to Tamil solar calendar. In south India; this month is also known as the month of weddings. So this auspicious day is dedicated to give thanks to nature for her productivity. They also worship to the God of light Sun for rich agricultural crops.
People believe that Pongal brings good wishes, wealth, peace and prosperity. The four days of Pongal are Bhogi, Thai, Mattu and Kaanum.
Day 1 (Bhogi Pongal)[13th January 2017]
Bhogi Pongal is dedicated to Lord of rain Indra for the prosperity of their agricultural land. In some rural areas; people provide their gratitude to Lord Indra by dancing and singing songs in praise of Lord around the bonfire. The importance of bonfire is that it is made of agricultural wastage and useless household woods.
Day 2 (Thai Pongal)[14th January 2017]
The main Pongal event is performed on this day. Thai Pongal is also called as Surya Pongal. The ceremonial worship is started with Kolam; a traditionally, hand made auspicious design at the entrance of the house by white lime powder. This should be performed early morning and after bath by the females of the house. All people wear traditional dress, jewelry and put tikkas on their forehead. The major event on this day is performed where rice is boiled along with milk in a pottery pot tied with a turmeric plant on clay stoves outside of the house. In many places women gather at a specific location to perform this ritual. After rice is cooked; it is offered to Lord Sun along with sticks of sugarcane, coconuts, and bananas.
Day 3 (Mattu Pongal)[15th January 2017]
Mattu Pongal is dedicated to the worship of cows. In this special day the farmers make over their cows with multicolored beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn and flower garlands. Then they are taken to the village centers; where all the villagers gathered to watch each others cows and their makeover. Then they are worshiped and arti is performed to them. The resounding of bells and beautifully makeup cows made the entire atmosphere festive and full of fun.
Day 4 (Kaanum Pongal)[16th January 2017]
The fourth day or last day of Pongal is known as Kaanum Pongal. The ritual performed on this day is that; the sweet Pongal, colored rice, betel leaves, betel nuts, two pieces of sugarcane and others dishes are placed in the courtyard and on washed turmeric leaves. All the women of the house assemble in the courtyard and pray for their brothers and family’s prosperity.