Hello, beautiful people of Tamil Nadu and neighbourhoods!
While we have been enjoying the subtle warmth of sunlit mornings and the soft winter winds, the first big carnival of the year started knocking at our doors!
If you have stumbled on this article, the chances are high that you want to learn more about the famous South Indian celebration. Here in this guide, we have explained the significance of the Pongal traditions. So, read the article till the end and wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Pongal!!
Pongal O’ Pongal- Honouring Our Homeland and Harvest!
The Pongal festival runs for four days, marking the beginning of a new harvest season and symbolising prosperity and abundance. Men wearing traditional vests, Kanjivaram and silk sarees-clad women, prayers and vibrant rangolis, particular foods like Pongal- it is a special time of the year in every manner.
The Regional Names of Pongal Festival
Primarily, India is a land of agrarian society, and hence you can observe the harvest festival being celebrated in different parts of the country but under other names. However, being a harvest festival, feasts and bonfires are common elements of Pongal in all the regions. So, let’s look at how beautifully and uniquely each state celebrates the occasion of harvesting and expressing gratitude!
In the North Indian states, people celebrate the harvest festival in the name of Makar Sankranti. However, the most exciting part of this festival is the tradition of kite flying.
It’s a strong belief that wind changes its direction on that particular day, and that’s why people come out on the streets or on their terraces to fly and capture as many colourful kites as possible.
In Punjab, Lohri is a famous festival celebrated in January, and every year the date falls on what they think is the coldest day of the year.
On a chilling evening, the people of Punjab celebrate the Lohri festival by dancing the famous bhangra around a fire fed with rice, sugarcane, and sesame seeds. People also sing folk songs while praying for a good harvest and the blessings of God. With all its glory, Lohri is undoubtedly the biggest festival in Punjab.
People celebrate the Hadaga festival in Maharashtra to worship Lord Indra. As per Indian mythology, Lord Indra is the God of rain, so people sing songs to pray for rain, and they draw pictures of elephants ( believed to be Indra’s vehicle) everywhere to invite God and his blessings.
The Spirit of Pongal Festival in South India
In the South, people celebrate the Pongal festival for four days. This year, the rituals are aligned like:
- Bhogi Pongal,13th January 2022
- Thai Pongal,14th January 2022
- Mattu Pongal,15th January 2022
- Kaanum Pongal,16th January, 2022
In Tamil, the meaning of the term Pongal is “to boil”, and it refers to cooking multiple cuisines with freshly harvested ingredients. People in South India rejoice in this festival with lots of enthusiasm, dedication, and hope as the tune of Pongal O’ Pongal fills the air, and people meet each other to renew their old bonds and build new ones. Let’s look at the day-by-day rituals of the thanksgiving celebration.
Day One – Bhogi Pongal
The first day of the Pongal festival signifies a new start as people toss agricultural waste, old household items into the Pongal bonfire, called Bhogi Mantalu.
All the towns, villages, cities, residential colonies, junctions, and squares light the bonfire made of dried cow dung cakes and woods. This ritual also has scientific importance as it is an excellent method to dispose of waste.
On this day, people worship Lord Indra, the God of rain, hoping for a good monsoon and prosperous harvest.
Day Two- Thai Pongal
On the second day of Thai Pongal, people worship the God of the Sun and express their gratitude for the excellent harvest. They cook freshly harvested rice with sugar and milk in an earthen pot tied to a turmeric pot. The dish is also known as Pongal, and it is offered to the Sun God as an expression of gratitude. All the houses are decorated with colourful, vibrant rangolis, Pongal Kolam, and other decorative pieces.
Click below to watch how we celebrated Pongal on our studio terrace!
Pongal Festival Celebrations at the Ancient Madurai Studio!
Day Three- Mattu Pongal
The South Indians reserve this day as the payback time to their domestic animals, who have worked hard to help in the harvesting process. They worship the cattle for serving in the fields throughout the year.
Day Four- Kaanum Pongal
Kaanum Pongal is the final day of the Pongal festival. On this day, the women of every household layout the Pongal dish along with other dishes made with betel leaves, sugarcane, and nuts outside their houses on banana leaves. In addition, they often use beautiful brass plates and pots that further add the heritage touch to the celebration.
This is a ritual of offering food to Gods while praying for the wellbeing of their family, brothers and sisters, friends, and loved ones.
Your Ultimate Inspiration to Try Out Traditional Pongal Recipes
What is a festival without some mouth-watering dishes? Pongal is also no exception, and here are two traditional Pongal recipes that you can’t afford to miss!
Ven or Khara Pongal
The Pongal festival is never complete without the savoury and peppery delicacy – Ven Pongal. The dish tastes amazing with chutney and sambhar when served piping hot.
The flavoursome dish is made with rice mixed with ghee, moong daal, raisins, cashew nuts, and mild spices and is also one of the most enjoyed breakfast dishes across South India.
If you are in for a wholesome Pongal snack, Murukku would be the must-try one. At the Pongal festival, no single South Indian house can skip making this urad daal crackling with its crunchy textures and round-coiled shape.
It has been an all-time favourite evening snack throughout the centuries, and it is easy to prepare!
Being Thankful for the Foods on our Plates!
The Pongal festival is one of the gala festivities where you get a reason to forget the daily hustle-bustle of your busy life, sit with your loved ones, chat with them and enjoy the little pleasures of life.
This is a day to be thankful for our achievements, success, and the daily abundance we are proceeding to a sustainable future. So let’s carry the divine spirit of the Pongal festival throughout the year and be thankful for each opportunity we receive to bring prosperity into our lives!
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