Pongal Day 2021: History, Meaning, Date and time, How to celebrate?
What is Pongal?
The term 'Pongal' is derived from the Tamil literature which means 'to boil'. It is an ancient festival of South India, particularly Tamils. It is basically a harvest festival which is celebrated for four-day-long in Tamil Nadu in the month of January-February (Thai) during the solar equinox after harvesting of crops like rice, sugarcane, turmeric, etc, according to Jagranjosh.
Pongal festival is a four-day celebration affair. Each day marked by different festivities- First day is called the Bhogi festival; the Second day is called Thai Pongal; the Third day is called Mattu Pongal; the Fourth day is called Kaanum Pongal.
History of the Pongal Festival
The history of the festival can be traced back to the Sangam Age and considered as the ‘Dravidian Harvest festival’. But some historians claim that this festival is dated back at least 2,000 years old. It was celebrated as Thai Nadal.
According to the legends, during this festive season unmarried girls prayed for the agricultural prosperity of the country, and for this purpose, they observed penance during the Tamil month of Margazhi. They abstained from the consumption of milk and milk products, didn't oil their hair throughout the month. The use of harsh words is strictly refrained by them. Ceremonial bath in the early morning as part of the ritual of the penance.
Why is Pongal celebrated and its importance?
According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Shiva once asked Basava (Bull) to visit on the Earth and ask the Human to have an oil massage and bath every day. But Basava (Bull) announced that eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. This makes Lord Shiva furious and he cursed the Basava (Bull) to live on the Earth forever and said that Basava (Bull) has to plow the fields and help people produce more food. Hence, people after harvesting celebrate this festival with crops and cattle.
It is basically a harvesting festival or it can be considered as the 'thanksgiving' festival' because this festival is celebrated to thank the Sun God and Lord Indra for helping farmers in getting better-yielding crops. During the festival, people reject old belongings and welcome new stuff.
An overview about Pongal Day
|Pongal is an important festival for people across Southern India (Photo: Times of India)|
An important festival for people across Southern India, the most famous festival of Tamil Nadu, Pongal, has finally arrived and will be celebrated from January 13 to January 16. Also known as 'Huggi' or 'Pongali' in popular culture, Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu which is equivalent to Makar Sankranti.
According to Hindu mythology, this is when the day of the gods begins, after a six-month-long night. According to Jagran English, Pongal marks the beginning of Uttarayan - the sun's northward journey for a six-month period. It is also celebrated as the harvest festival and coincides with the observance of Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Bhogali Bihu in different parts of the country. Pongal is a 4-day affair that begins with the Bhogi festival and ends with Kaanum Pongal. The festival is spread over three days and is the most important and most fervently-celebrated harvest festival of South India. A special puja is performed on the first day of Pongal before the cutting of the paddy. Farmers worship the sun and the earth by anointing their plows and sickles with sandalwood paste, cites theholidayspot.
Specific activities during the four days of Pongal Day
January 13, 2021: The day before Thai Pongal is celebrated as Bogi Pandigai. On this day people clean and decorate their households.
January 14, 2021: It is the main festival day, called Thai Pongal. On this day people cook pongal- a concoction of rice milk and jaggery, topped with ghee and dry fruits. Pongal is then offered to Sun God as gratitude of good harvest. Traditionally, people spill milk while preparing Pongal as a sign of prosperity. (Thai Pongal Sankranti Moment- 8:29 AM)
January 15, 2021: The next day is called Mattu Pongal, when cattles are decorated and worshiped by the devotees.
January 16, 2021: The 4-day festival ends with Kaanum Pongal, when families gather for celebration with traditional meal spread, cites NDTV Food.
How to celebrate Pongal?
The first day- The Bhogi festival
|People are gathering around the bonfire (Photo: SchoolChalao)|
The first day of Pongal is dedicated to Lord Indra, the lord of rain. The ritual of Bhogi Mantalu is also observed this day. On this day, all the items of the household which are useless are thrown in a bonfire. The bonfire is made of cow dung cakes and wood.
The second day - Thai Pongal
This day is dedicated to the Lord of Sun. On this day, families cook a dish, known as Pongal. In a clay pot, rice, milk, green gram (mung) jaggery, spices, nuts and dry fruits. It is first served to the Lord of Sun then the families and neighbours sit together and share their Pongal with each other.
Kolam for Pongal is another important aspect of this day. On this day, hand-drawn traditional designs are drawn at the entrance of houses with lime powder. Kolum is an auspicious drawing that must be done early in the morning and only after a bath, demonstrates republicworld.
The third day
Mattu Pongal is dedicated to cows. Cows and cattle are adorned with bells, sheaves of corn, and garlands and worshipped. It is believed that Lord Shiva had sent a bull once with a message to the Earth, asking them to have an oil massage and bath daily and to eat once a month. Mistakenly, the bull announced to everyone that they are supposed to eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. This angered Lord Shiva and he cursed the bull to plough the fields to help people produce more food.
The fourth day - Kaanum Pongal
|Photo: The Hindu|
The last day of Pongal is marked as Kaanum (or Kanu). On this day, the women of the household carry out a ritual in the name of their brothers and pray for their prosperity. There the leftover sweets of Pongal and other food are put out in the courtyard. They are set on a washed turmeric leaf along with betel leaves, betel nuts, and sugar cane.
|However, the celebrations of Pongal have been massively hit this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has affected more than 1 crore people and claimed over 1.50 lakh lives in India so far. Due to the pandemic, we would request to stay inside your houses and follow COVID-19 norms while celebrating the beautiful festival of Pongal.|
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