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Pongal festival is an ancient celebration for the Tamils, celebrated for four days. It is a harvest festival signifying the dawn of prosperous days beginning on 14 January every year, according to the Tamil calendar. Pongal festival, a Hindu festival is celebrated for four days, Bhogi Pandikai, Makar Sankranti, Mattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal. The festival is wrapped up with Kaanum Pongal. This year in 2021, the festival of Pongal will be celebrated from 14 January to 17 January.
Worship is inherent in man and Pongal festival is celebrated in order to acknowledge all those factors that have attributed to the prosperity of the year-long toil. Lord Indra, the Lord of rain is worshipped on Bhogi Pandigai, the Sun God is worshipped on Makar Sankranti and the cows on Mattu Pongal. Kaanum Pongal, which is celebrated on the final day, is a day for merrymaking, ensuing the worship on the first three days.
Kaanum Pongal bears cultural significance apart from the religious aspect, of prayer and worship amidst celebrations on all the four days of Pongal. The term 'Kaanum' would mean 'to see'. On this day people meet relatives and friends and feast together. They go on a picnic to the banks of River Cauvery or to nearby river banks. Prayers are offered to the waters of River Cauvery or attributing the waters of any river to River Cauvery, for irrigating the fields to enrich the crops.
Young girls are beautifully attired and on that day prospective grooms get to see brides settle down in marriage. Unmarried girls are usually centred and women engage in Kummi, moving in a circular fashion while singing the Kummi song.
Its a day of great merriment with the taking place of Jallikattu, taming of the bulls, and rooster fighting, which is allowed permission only during the festive season.
The modern days also have people visiting parks, zoos and picnic spots for socialising. Apart from all the celebrations, Pongal has a spiritual significance too. The period between mid-December and January is considered days of in-auspiciousness and the dawn of Pongal is considered prosperous. Hence it signifies the disappearance of the dark days of ignorance and the dawn of enlightenment.
Kaanum Pongal also signifies the union and bliss of realization.