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Pongal is one of the first festivals that people belonging to South India observe in a year. The festival marks the harvest season in South India and is widely celebrated. People in South India, especially in Tamil Nadu observe this festival with dedication and devotion. The festival is quite similar to Lohri and Makar Sankranti which are celebrated in most parts of the country. Scroll down the article to read about this festival. Read on:
Date Of Pongal
As per the Tamil Calendar, Pongal is observed in the month of Thai. It is a four day festival that begins on the last day of Margazhi month and ends on the third day of Thai. However, according to the Gregorian Calendar, this year the festival will be observed from 13 to 16 January 2021.
Katha Behind Pongal
There are many stories of the Pongal festival that tell about its importance. Out of all the stories of Pongal, the most famous one is of Lord Krishna while he was in Gokul. Once Lord Indra, in his fury, flooded Gokul with the rain water. People panicked and rushed to Lord Krishna for help. This is when Lord Krishan lifted the Govardhan Parvat on His little finger and asked people to take shelter under the same. This is when Lord Indra forgave the people and stopped the rain.
Another story is of Nandi, the bull of Lord Shiva. Once Lord Shiva preached His bull and asked Him to go on the earth and teach people. He had asked Nandi to preach that people should work hard, bathe everyday, worship the deities and eat once in a month. However, upon reaching the earth, out of confusion, He preached people to eat everyday and bathe once in a month. This enraged Lord Shiva and in a rage asked Nandi to stay on the earth forever and help people in reaping the harvest, so that could everyday.
Rituals Of Pongal
- The first day of Pongal is observed as Bhogi Pongal and on this day, people make Kolam outside their respective homes and light a bonfire in the evening. People burn all old clothes and stuff into the fire.
- People prepare cow dung cakes and decorate their houses with flowers and lights.
- The second day of the festival is observed as Thai Pongal and on this day people prepare Pongal, a sweet dish prepared using rice, lentils and milk. The pongal is first offered to Lord Surya and then people ask Him to bless the earth with prosperity and positivity.
- The third day is observed as the Mattu Pongal and on this day people give a bath to their cattle, especially cows and oxen. They are then decorated with bells, beads and flowers. People also organise bull fights on this day.
- The final day of the festival is observed. On this day, sisters pray for the well-being of their brothers. This day is dedicated to birds and people offer cooked rice to the birds.