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Pongal is observed across the globe and is richly celebrated in India. The word 'Pongal' means 'boiling over of the rice in the cooking pot' in both Tamil and Telugu. Though there is little known about the origin of the festival, it is, however, a Dravidian harvest feast that has been celebrated for many centuries.
Pongal is also a festival that marks the beginning of a New Year that is devoted to thank and praise the Lord with faith and sincerity. Pongal also covers all the living beings, including humans, cattle, birds and crops.
It falls right after the winter solstice and is one of the best, since it is a bountiful harvest. This festival also marks the season of celebration and joyous activities and is celebrated continuously for four days which are called Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kanum Pongal.
Each of these days has its own cultural and religious significance too and, along with this, there are quite a lot more of customs that complete this beautiful festival. Read further to know more about the various customs associated with Pongal.
Kolam: This is one of the most necessary things that you need to have in a Pongal-celebrated household. Kolam is made out of rice powder, and it is used to decorate the puja room by making patterns and designs.
Gifts: No festival can be celebrated without exchanging of the gifts. Gifts are exchanged between the family members, relatives and friends. There are popular Pongal gift items like Pongal Padi and Pongal parisu.
Out With The Old & In With The New: People discard their old clothes and other old, useless household utensils into a bonfire that is created in front of the house. While the flame is on, young folks dance around the bonfire and celebrate the festival with much joy.
Sugarcane: You probably would have seen a lot of sugarcane two to three days before this Pongal festival. This sweet candy signifies the harvest festival and is the product of the harvest festival as well. This sugarcane is exhibited in front of the houses or it is tied to the doorpost of each household celebrating this festival.
The Dish - Pongal: This Indian dish is loved by a lot of people. It is specially made on the day of the festival and it is distributed and shared with the near and dear ones.
Jaggery Sweets: Sweets are also distributed on the festival. The sweet along with the sesame seeds, dry coconut, gur or jaggery, ground nut and white candy complete this festival.