Why is Pongal Festival celebrated?

India is a festival land. Every festival is vigorously celebrated. It reflects our culture as well. Like other festivals, Pongal is one of them, too. What is the importance of the Pongal Festival? How is it celebrated? Let us find out!

What Is The Pongal Festival?

The word “Pongal” derives from Tamil literature meaning “to boil.” The festival is an ancient one, particularly for Tamils in South India. It’s primarily a four-day harvest festival in Tamil Nadu in the month of January-February (Thai) after harvesting of rice, sugar cane, turmeric, and so on during a solar equinox.

The Pongal Festival is a four-day event. The first day is called the Bhogi Festival; the second day is called the Thai Pongal; the third day is called the Matt Pongal; the fourth day is called the Kaanum Pongal.

History Of Pongal Festival

The Pongal festivals date back at least 2,000 years, as evidence shows, including during the medieval days of the Chola Empire. It is traditionally a day to thank and praise the God of the Sun who helps grow crops by giving energy for their growth because the life of the farmers depends on it. Pongal is one such festival, which is celebrated to thank the Sun God and Lord Indra for helping farmers to make better crops. On the third day of the Tamil month Thai, Pongal is celebrated. This is one of the major Hindu festivals in Tamil Nadu which is celebrated with exuberance for four days. Also, Pongal is the name of a dish made at this festival.

According to legends, unmarried girls prayed during this festive season for the country’s agricultural development and observed penance during the Tamil month of Margazhi for this purpose. They abstained from drinking milk and milk products, and during the month they didn’t oil their hair. They specifically refrain from the use of harsh language. A ceremonial bath early in the morning as part of a penance ritual.

Why is Pongal Festival celebrated?
Image Source- The Times of India

Importance

Pongal is one such festival, which is celebrated to thank the Sun God and Lord Indra for helping farmers to make better crops. On the day of Pongal, farmers prepare signature items such as Pongal, Shakkara Pongal, offering sugar cane. There is also a separate puja to give thanks to the Sun god. Traditionally, this harvest festival is held for four days at a time. The first day of the festival is called Bhogi, which falls on 13 January. This is the day that people reject old belongings and accept fresh stuff. In chanting “Paraiyana kadiwalum, Pudiyana Pugudulam” which simply means, “Let the old things go away and let the new things come in,” farmers burn their old household materials in flames. The lesson inside is that with changing times people can change. Fresh ideas should be accepted and the old ones let go.

The time is called Uttarayan Punyakalam, which in Hindu mythology has particular importance and is considered highly desirable. It is believed that this is the time that after a half year slumber, the Devas wake up during this period, which brings the earth prosperity and wealth.

How to celebrate Pongal Festival

1. The first day- The Bhogi festival

Pongal’s first day is devoted to Lord Indra, the rain lord. The Bhogi Mantalu ritual is also observed on this day. All the household things that are worthless are lit into a bonfire on this day. Cow dung cakes and wood are used for the bonfire.

2. The second day – Thai Pongal

The Lord of the Sun is devoted to this day. Families are cooking a dish, called Pongal, this day. Rice, milk, green gram (mung) jaggery, spices, nuts, and dried fruits are in the clay pot. The Lord of Sun is served first, then the families and their neighbors sit down and share Pongal.

Another big feature of this day is Kolam for Pongal. This day, at the entrance of houses with lime powder, traditional hand drawings are drawn. Kolum is an auspicious painting that must be done just after a bath and early in the morning.

3. The third day – Mattu Pongal

On the third day, Mattu Pongal is devoted to the cows. Cows and cattle are decorated with bells, corn sheaves, and garlands, and worshipped. Lord Shiva is believed to have sent a bull once to the Earth with a letter telling them to have an oil massage and a bath every day and to eat once a month. Mistakenly, the bull told everyone they were supposed to eat every day and have an oil bath once a month. Lord Shiva was furious, and he cursed the bull to plow the fields to help people produce more food.

Why is Pongal Festival celebrated?
Image Source – Pixabay

4. The fourth day – Kaanum Pongal

Kaanum is the last day of Pongal (or Kanu). On this day, the women of the household conduct a ceremony in the name of their brothers and pray for their success. Pongal’s leftover sweets and other food are set out in the courtyard there. They, along with betel leaves, betel nuts, and sugar cane, are placed on a washed turmeric leaf.

Pongal 2021 Wishes, Quotes

You may send the following messages to wish your close and dear ones on the occasion:

  • Wish that this festival will bring good luck and fortune and will hopefully make you prosperous, and will fill your days with joy. Have a fantastic Pongal
  • Let the fragrance of jaggery, milk, and these dry fruits bring you and your family the sweetest wishes. To you and your family, Happy Pongal 2021
  • Any color of love will fill your home and heart with lots of happiness during this festive season. Happy Pongal 2021
  • Don’t forget to enjoy the blessings of life on this auspicious day of the year. Show thanks to the Almighty for every gift you have in your life.  Happy Pongal!The Pongal Festival is the Tamil Nadu Harvest Festival, which takes place in the month of Thai (January-February season). The beauty of the festival reminds us of the value of natural resources, particularly as the world is dealing with environmental change.

Also Read: Makar Sankranti 2021: Significance And Rituals

History And Significance Of Lohri 2021

Ravleen Chawla
AKANKSHA PANCHOLY

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