This is the season when festivals throughout India celebrate the harvest and thank heaven for the abundance of the fall. Given the diversity of India, while the nature of the festivals remains the same, they differ from region to region. In certain ways, these festivals often mark the start of the traditional New Year. The Harvest Festival is celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu. The Pongal Festival comes first when a new year is born and, interestingly, it is also the name of a compulsory sweet dish made of rice and is cooked in our traditional utensils called Pongal Pot or Uruli, many of them used in their homes during this festival.
This festival is being celebrated by our Tamilians for four days. The first day begins with the burning of waste things outside the home in the early morning the day comes to the end of Margazhi. And this is known as Bhogi. It means ‘a perfect harvest.’ Strong harvest depends on sufficient rainfall. Farmers, therefore, pray to the rain god, Lord Indra, and thank him for his blessings, which have made a good harvest possible.
The second day will be celebrated as the main day of Pongal. When people worship the God of the Sun and express their gratitude for a good harvest. The main ritual of this day is the cooking of rice and milk (to make Pongal) in the traditional pot called Uruli, kept open – under the sun. This was offered to Lord Surya along with sugar cane, bananas, coconuts, and other crops. The Pongal or Uruli pot is also tied to a turmeric pot and is an offering of gratitude to the sun. Houses are decorated with colorful rangoli designs known as Kolam and women’s folk to turn out to be their best colorful.
The Pongal festival has to be experienced in the state of Tamil Nadu. Being there at the Pongal Festival could be a unique and immersive experience of this fascinating festival. On the third day of Pongal, Mattu Pongal, we thank the domestic animal, especially the cow. Then the final day of Pongal will be celebrated as Kannum Pongal. Most of the family come together and go out with their family and enjoy.
During the celebration, two types of traditional dishes, including sweets and salty dishes, are cooked. Sweet Pongal is also called Chakkara Pongal, a delicious blend of boiled rice with milk, dried fruit, and jaggery cooked in a pot of earthenware on an open fire. Salty Pongal is made by boiling freshly harvested rice with curry leaves, lentils, salt, spices, and ghee. Usually called Ven Pongal, the salty Pongal is served on a banana leaf and savored with chutney and sambar before the real feast begins.
We wish you a safe and healthy celebration, ending with our wish to “wish you a very happy Pongal to All.”