Tamil Nadu celebrates Pongal with traditional fervour

Pongal usually means in Tamil 'to boil or 'boiling over' and is celebrated with the boiling of the first rice of the season consecrated to the Sun - the Surya Maangalyam.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 15 Jan 2019 5:28 AM GMT

Tamil Nadu celebrates Pongal with traditional fervour
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Tamil Nadu celebrates Pongal with traditional fervour
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Chennai: People across Tamil Nadu on Tuesday celebrated the harvest festival of Pongal thanking rain, sun and farm animals.

This four day festival is a harvest festival dedicated to the Sun God and is usually celebrated from January 15 to January 18.

It also coincides with Makara Sankranthi which is celebrated throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

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Symbolically, Pongal signifies the gradual heating of the earth as the Sun travels northward toward the equinox.

Pongal usually means in Tamil 'to boil or 'boiling over' and is celebrated with the boiling of the first rice of the season consecrated to the Sun - the Surya Maangalyam.

To celebrate this festival people got up early, put on new clothes and go to temples for prayers.

The aroma of ghee fried cashews, almonds and cardamom fills homes as a traditional dish of rice, jaggery and Bengal gram are made.

As the ingredients of Chakarai Pongal boils in milk, people call out 'Pongolo Pongal, Pongolo Pongal'.

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The mud pot or stainless steel in which the dish is cooked is decorated by tying up ginger, turmeric, sugarcane piece and banana at the neck.

The Pongal dish is offered to Sun God as thanksgiving and are consumed as 'prasad'. It is made at the auspicious time and in some homes, conches are blown prior to the formal offering.

People exchange greetings and Chakarai Pongal with their neighbors.

The festivities take place over four days, the first day being Bhogi is celebrated by people, burning their old clothes, mats and other items. Homes are painted afresh.

The second day is the main Pongal festival celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month Thai.

The third day is the Mattu Pongal when bulls and cows are bathed and their horns painted and worshiped as they play an important role in farms.

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Women feed the birds with colored rice and pray for the welfare of their brothers. In some parts of the state, Jallikattu - a bull-taming sport -is held.

The fourth day is the Kaanum Pongal - the day to go out and meet relatives and friends, and go sightseeing.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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