Date, timing and tithi of the festival
One of the biggest festivals in South India is called Pongal, and it is primarily observed in Tamil Nadu. It is commonly referred to as Makar Sankranti in different areas of India. On January 15, the Pongal harvest festival is celebrated, which lasts four days and coincides with the solar equinox. The festival lasts four days. The entire season is referred to as Uttarayanam in Tamilnadu, where it is also known as Thai Pongal.
Thai Pongal Sunday, Jan 15, 2023
Thai Pongal Sankranti Moment 08:57 PM
Bhogi Pandigai – January 14, 2023
Thai Pongal – 15 January 2023
Sankranti Moment – 8:57 PM, 15 Jan 2023
Mattu Pongal – January 16, 2023
Kaanum Pongal – 17 January 2023
- Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu to praise the Sun God for the bountiful harvest.
- The event is widely observed across four days in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Sri Lanka.
- The harvest festival, which coincides with the conclusion of Margazhi’s month, is observed as a rite of thanksgiving for the year’s harvest and is known in Tamil as Pongal, which means “boiling.”
- The Northern Hemisphere’s cold winter season ends on this day, and spring officially begins.
- In Northern India, this holiday is known as Makar Sankranti, and in the South, it is known as Pongal.
The time frame is designated as the Uttarayana Punyakalam and is lucky. According to legend, during this time, the Devas awaken from their six-month-long rest. And so, it is believed that anyone who dies during Uttarayana achieves salvation.
The festival day is actually the second day of the four-day celebration of Pongal, which begins on the last day of the Tamil calendar’s ninth month, known as “Margazhi.” Since this is the case, the festival day is the second day of the celebration. It follows that the fourth and last day of the event is the third day of the tenth month of “Thai.” This is the reason it is also known as “Thai Pongal.”
- The first day of the Pongal celebration is referred to as Bhogi Pongal, while the second day, Thai Pongal, is said to be the most important day of the event.
- The names Mattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal, respectively, are given to the third and fourth days.
- The story of Pongal conveys the idea of letting go of the past to make room for the future.
It is a time to thank the Sun, Mother Nature, and all the farm animals who helped produce a bumper crop. Pongal, which is observed over four days, ushers in the Tamil month of Thai, which is seen as fortunate.
- In Tamil Nadu, Pongal traditionally heralds the New Year; as a result, newly harvested grains are prepared for the first time on this day.
- Every home celebrates with festivals and customary traditions, and everything seems very different. We feed and clothe the underprivileged.
- The cow is honoured the following day, and animals and birds are fed. In a nutshell, the theme of Pongal is giving. Given that life is sustained by the power of creation, it is a way of showing thanks.
- The sun is revered on this auspicious day as the representation and source of Life-Force, without which human life is impossible.
- A traditional South Indian meal called payasam is served to the sun to obtain his blessings before being consumed as prasad.
- Animals are honoured on the second day, typically through worshiping a symbolic cow, which is once more given delicious payasam.
- The third day is when family relationships are worshipped, naturally through further payasam offerings but, more significantly, through family gatherings.
- Deep connections with the universe, mother nature, and one another can be restored throughout this day, which has the potential to be incredibly restorative. Through this event, the marvellous divine blessing that is creation is acknowledged.
The following are the medical benefits, or you could say the scientific benefits if we were to debate them:
Because Pongal is about cooking rice, as you are all aware, the steam rising from the boiling rice, jaggery, cardamom, and other spices in so many homes, combined with the smoke from the traditional firewood used, actually creates a special medicinal combination that has a very positive impact on the atmosphere.This both purifies the soul and heals all seasonal illnesses. Additionally, it promotes pleasant weather and gives us a healthy mother nature for the days ahead.
History behind the festival
Since the Sangam Age lasted from 200 BC to 300 AD, Pongal is considered an ancient festival. Although initially a Dravidian harvest celebration, it is also mentioned in Sanskrit Puranas. During the Sangam Period, Pongal was observed as Thai Niradal in the Margazhi month. Fasts and rituals were observed to honour the goddess Katyayani during the festival. Today’s Pongal was made possible by these celebrations.
This festivity would only be complete with food and livestock. It all began, so the story goes, when Basava, Shiva’s bull, sent people the wrong message. Basava instructed people to eat every day and have an oil bath once a month rather than telling them to take an oil massage, bathe every day, and go without food for a month. Shiva then dispatched his bull to Earth to assist in food production.
It’s thought that the Aatman receives Moksha when he passes away on Makar Sankranti. This festival is significant for spiritual pursuits. The mythology of Shiva and his bull Nandi is credited with inspiring Tamil Nadu’s celebration of this festival, which is associated with raising animals and harvesting crops for a new cycle. According to folklore, the bull Nandi is condemned to live on Earth and assist people in plowing the fields and increasing output. It’s because Nandi is thought to have misread Lord Shiva’s command and given it to humans incorrectly.
Nandi is meant to aid crop production, making it a significant celebration for ardent farmers.
- People applied Kumkum and turmeric dots all during the festivity.
- At the entrance gates, gorgeously adorned Rangolis are created to welcome Goddess Laxmi and ask her for blessings on this auspicious occasion.
- They burn the waste from the house and even throw away their old clothing.
- The puja house is beautifully decorated since it is said that almighty godheads visit homes and bring harmony, prosperity, and good health to the family.
- For future use, people save clay pots or stoves. Wrap the pot in the manjal kothu.
- With moist viboodhi, make three lines, and keep a kumkum dot on the pot. Some dishes are created, such as suzhiyan, adhirasam, and obbattu.
- All about the house, lovely and traditional rangolis are placed.
- People awaken at 4 am on the big Pongal days because they must do the pooja at sunrise, which occurs at roughly 6 am.
- They bathe their heads. On these holy days, the elders keep an eye on the brides and grooms as they begin the marriage ceremony. They often like the Pongal festival to start weddings and other religious observances.
Pongal Puja Vidhi
- The first day is designated as “Bhogi Pongal,” used to clean and decorate the home.
- The new rice is harvested and processed on the second day, referred to as “Thai Pongal.” At this time, the Sun God is revered.
- On this day, India celebrates Makar Sankranti, the winter harvest festival that heralds the beginning of the sun’s six-month trek north and the arrival of milder weather.
- To prepare the Pongal dish, people also congregate in their homes. It is presented to the Sun God during prayers, and afterward, it is eaten for lunch.
- The third day is referred to as “Maatu Pongal” and is entirely devoted to the livestock, which a cow symbolizes.
- On this day, it is traditional to pray and clean the cows. The fourth day, known as “Kaanum Pongal,” is the last and is reserved for family get-togethers. On this day, people worship birds.
- Prepared cooked rice balls are placed outside for birds to consume. They also thank friends and relatives for helping them during the harvest.
All the delicacies are offered in 9 leaves by devotees. However, they often spread five leaves for the Sun God. They store little quantities of sweet Pongal, Vella Pongal, Pongal sambar, and kootu in those five leaves. A massive enormous statue of Lord Surya (Sun God) with glittering beams is also sculpted right in the centre of the rangoli-kolam. In front of the banana leaves, turn on two lamps. All the seasonal vegetables, such as sweet potato, pumpkin, yam, arbi, and Panag kizhangu, should be spread out on a banana leaf. Keep the nuts, banana, betel leaves, and chunks of sugar cane. Coconut should be broken and kept. Perform the puja and Mangala Arathi right away. Complete the pooja. “Siruveetu paal,” a glass of milk sweetened with jaggery, is given out as a gift following the puja.
Traditional foods consumed
Hindus celebrate Pongal Festival, which is wonderful but incomplete without traditional foods. Let’s look at some traditional delicacies now.
Ven Pongal: The word Pongal should be clear to you. It is the name of a dish from South India. In Tamil Nadu, the meal is regarded as nutritious. Broken rice, moong dal, ghee, and pepper pods are used to make it, and it is eaten with sambar or coconut chutney. It is regarded as one of the easiest Pongal meals to make.
Puran Poli: Puran Poli is a unique and customary Pongal dish. They are likewise referred to as sweet flatbread. Bengal gram dal with ghee and coconut is used to make puran poli. Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra, and other states in West and South India also enjoy it.
Murukku: Urad dal-based Pongal feasts include muruku. It has a crunchy coiled structure, making it a tasty winter treat.
Sakkarai Pongal: During this event, various Pongal delicacies are cooked. Green gram, jaggery, and rice are the ingredients. They all have distinctive flavours and tastes.
- What essentials are required for the Pongal celebration?
Rice that has just been harvested is used, and it is cooked by boiling it with milk and raw cane sugar (jaggery). The sweet dish occasionally includes extra ingredients including cardamom, raisins, split green gram, and cashew nuts. Other components include ghee and coconut (clarified butter from cow milk).
- Which flowers are used in Pongal?
The neck of the Pongal pot is decorated with strands of flowers like Koorapoo (mountain grass) and avarampoo (Senna flower), which are also tied at the entrances of homes. The celebration takes place in the middle of winter. Therefore local winter flowers are used for both décor and prayer.
- What presents are exchanged on Pongal?
Gifts for Pongal can be anything from sculptures of Lord Sun to lucky plants, or one can choose a lavish Pongal buffet that is guaranteed to be cherished by family members. Sweets and dry fruits are fantastic for any occasion because everyone enjoys them.
- What kind of dance is done during Pongal?
One of the most well-known dances done on the occasion of Pongal is kummi. It is also one of Tamil Nadu’s oldest dances and is thought to have developed as a dance style before music.
- What is Pongal seer?
It is customary for families to send their married daughters the “Pongal Seer,” which contains everything needed to observe the harvest celebration during the Pongal holiday. This custom has diminished over time among metropolitan residents.
- What are the 21 gifts during Pongal?
Along with sugarcane, the cloth bag contains 19 other vital items, including raw rice, jaggery, cashews, resin, cardamom, moong dal, ghee, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander, mustard, cumin, pepper, tamarind, Bengal gram, urad dhal, rava, wheat flour, and salt.
- What is the Pongal festival’s ritual?
On this day, devotees prepare the Pongal dish of milk-boiled rice to celebrate a fruitful harvest season. They then present the food to the sun before eating it. Bonfires are lit, folk songs and dances are sung and danced to, social events are planned, and presents are exchanged, among other celebratory customs.