Pongal Celebration, Thai Pongal, Pongal Festival Story, பொங்கல் திருநாள்

Pongal Celebration and Tamil New Year
பொங்கல் திருநாள் 

Thai Pongal Festival Celebrations:

Thai Pongal is a harvest festival equivalent to a thanksgiving event celebrated by Tamils across the world. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over or spill over." The act of boiling over of milk in a clay pot is considered to denote future properity for the family. Traditionally celebrated at harvest time, it is a celebration of the prosperity associated with the harvest by thanking the rain, sun and the farm animals that have helped in the harvest. Pongal is celebrated by the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as well as Tamils worldwide, including those in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, USA, Canada and Singapore. The festival is at least 1000 years old although some believe that the festival is more than 2000 years old. As per epigraphic evidence, it used to be celebrated as Puthiyeedu during Medieval Chola empire days. It is thought that Puthiyeedu meant the first harvest of the year. People of all relegions celebrate pongal festival.

Pongal is a highly revered festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu to mark the harvesting season. An important festival in India, Pongal is celebrated by offering prayers to the Sun God. Pongal gifts are exchanged among family members, relatives and friends. Houses are cleaned, and all maintenance jobs are done before this festival. Held in the middle of January, it is a time when the people of Tamil Nadu get ready to thank God, Earth and their cattle for the wonderful harvest they have reaped. During the four-day pongal festival, different varieties of Rangoli are drawn in front of the houses early in the morning. Apart from exchanging Pongal gifts, this festival also sees people exchanging lot of Pongal cards also.

Bhogi Pongal:

The first day of pongal is celebrated as the Bhogi Pongal and is usually meant for domestic activities and of being together with the family members. Bhogi pongal first day is celebrated in honour of Lord Indra, the supreme ruler of clouds that give rains. Another ritual observed on this day is Bhogi Mantalu, when useless household articles are thrown into a fire made of wood and cow-dung Cakes. Girls dance around the bonfire, singing songs in praise of the gods, the spring and the harvest.

Surya Pongal:

The second day of harvest festival is known as 'Pongal', in tamionadu, the most important day of the entire festival, where prayers are offered to the Sun. On this day, the Sun is given great importance. On the morning of this day, the family will gather outside their houses and cook 'pongal' in clay pots. When the rice inside the pot overflows, the people will cry out 'Pongal O Pongal' and pray to the Sun. The overflow of rice symbolizes a prosperous farming season for them. On this auspicious day, people will visit each other and dine. Sweets are also cooked in the Hindus homes for the guests.

Mattu Pongal:

The third day is known as Mattu Pongal, the day of Pongal for cows. To the village people cow, the giver of milk and the bull which draws the plough in the fields are very valuable and therefore the farmers honour their dumb friends by celebrating it as a day of thanks-giving to them. The cattle are washed, their horns are painted and covered with shining metal caps.

Kaanum Pongal:

Kanu Pongal, which falls on the same day as Maatu Pongal, is celebrated by sisters for the welfare of their brothers. Pongal or Harvest festival of Tamilnadu is reminiscent of Raksha Bandhan and Bhai Dooj of North India.

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