The commencement of the New Year brings a slew of the festival which Indians keep looking forward to the rest of the year. The four-day long harvest festival Pongal holds a great value for the people of Tamil Nadu and traditionally it is a day to thank and appreciate the Sun God for helping in growing crops by providing energy for its growth as the farmers’ livelihood depends on it. The festival is marked by boiling the first rice of the harvest, which is sanctified by the Sun.
Pongal celebrations date back at least 2,000 years old as evidence suggests that it was celebrated even during the medieval Chola Empire days. Traditionally it is a day to thank and appreciate the Sun God for helping in growing crops by providing energy for its growth as the farmers’ livelihood depends on it. Pongal is one such festival, that is celebrated to thank the Sun God and Lord Indra for helping farmers in getting better-yielding crops. Pongal is celebrated on the third day of the Tamil month Thai. It is one of the most important festival for the Hindu families in Tamil Nadu that is celebrated for four days with great exuberance. Pongal is also the name of a dish that is made on this festival.
Pongal is one such festival, that is celebrated to thank the Sun God and Lord Indra for helping farmers in getting better-yielding crops. On Pongal day farmers prepare signature items like Pongal, Shakkara Pongal, sugarcane is offered. A special puja is also performed to thank the Sun god. This harvest festival is traditionally celebrated for four continuous days. First day of the festival falls on 13th January is called Bhogi. This is the day when people reject old belongings and welcome new stuff. Farmers burn their old household materials in fire while chanting “Paraiyana kadiwalum, Pudiyana Pugudulam” that literally means, “Let the old things go away and Let the new things come in”. The lesson inside is that people should change with changing time. New thoughts should be embraced and the old ones should be let go.
The period is referred to as Uttarayan Punyakalam which bears special significance in Hindu mythology and is considered to extremely auspicious. It is believed, this is the period when the Devas wake up after a half a year-long slumber during this period and bestow wealth and prosperity on earth. On this auspicious day the Tamils decorate their homes with banana and mango leaves. They also decorate their houses using rice flour decorative patterns.