Pongal Festival – The Harvest Festival
Pongal festival is awesome. India is a land of diversity and culture. With so many cultures come different and various festivals. One festival over and the other is standing at the door. Pongal festival is a harvest festival celebrated in the southern region of India.
It is a four-day festival thanking the Sun God for agricultural abundance. It is celebrated on the first day of the tenth month called Tai, of Tamil calendar which is both lunar and solar calendar.
As mentioned above it is a four-day festival. The four days are named Bhogi, Thai Pongal, Maatu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal respectively.
First Day of Pongal Festival i.e. Bhogi
It is the day dedicated to Lord Indra – God of rain. It is celebrated one day prior to the Pongal. Farmers worship Indra to seek his blessings for a good harvest.
People discard all old things at home on this day at burning them in a community bonfire marking the beginning of a new era. This festival is marked with activities such as rangoli making and rural sports such as kite flying, cockfights and bullfighting.
The second Day of Pongal Festival i.e. Thai Pongal
It is the most imperative day among the four days. It is named Thai after the name of the month Thai in Tamil calendar and it marks the beginning of the month.
Prayers are offered to the Sun God for the abundance of crops and a prosperous harvest. As the word “Pongal” means “to boil” on this day Pongal which happen to be the name of dish cooked on this day is cooked in earthen pots and shared with family, friends, and neighbors.
Third-Day of Pongal Festival i.e. Maatu Pongal:
The word ‘mattu’ in Tamil signifies ‘the bull’ and thus the day of Mattu Pongal is dedicated to the cattle, especially the bulls as they play an important role by helping the farmers in growing crops.
People give bathe their cattles and paint and decorate their horns. Flower garlands, tinkling bells and multi-colored beads are tied in their necks.
They worship Lord Krishna and Lord Indra for the growth and prosperity of their cattle population. People worship the cows by touching their forehead and feet.
Fouth Day i.e. Kaanum Pongal
It is the day of merriment. People visit each other’s home and spend time with friends and family. Brother and sisters pay tributes to each other by exchanging gifts and praying for their well being.
The most important event observed on Kaanum Pongal is visiting the banks of River Kaveri.
People pack lunches and enjoy it with their families on the bank of Kaveri River. In some places, special prayers are offered to Mother Kaveri.
Pongal is the regional name it is also known as Makar Sakranti, Lohri, Bihu, and Utarayana in other regions of India.
It’s a festival which everybody celebrates with great excitement and spirit. It pulls people closer and unites them. It destroys evils and teaches people to live together.