Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated by the Tamil
community. It is a celebration to thank the Sun,
Mother Nature and the various farm animals that help
to contribute to a bountiful harvest. Celebrated over
four days, Pongal also marks the beginning of the
Tamil month called Thai, which is considered an
auspicious month. It usually falls on the 14th or 15th
of January each year.
Pongal is also the name of the dish made and eaten
during this festival. It is a mixture of boiled sweet rice.
It is derived from the Tamil word pongu, which means
“to boil over”.
Pongal festival is a four-day celebration affair. Each
day is marked by different festivities- The first day is
called the Bhogi festival, the Second day is called Thai
Pongal, the Third day is called Mattu Pongal, the
Fourth day is called Kaanum Pongal.
The history of the festival can be traced back to the
Sangam Age and is considered as the ‘Dravidian
Harvest festival’. But some historians claim that this
festival is dated back at least 2,000 years old. It was
celebrated as Thai Niradal. According to the legends,
during this festive season, unmarried girls prayed for
the agricultural prosperity of the country, and for this
purpose, they observed penance during the Tamil
month of Margazhi. They abstained from the
consumption of milk and milk products, didn’t oil their
hair throughout the month.
The use of harsh words is strictly refrained by them.
Ceremonial bath in the early morning as part of the
ritual of penance.
According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Shiva once asked
Basava (Bull) to visit the Earth and ask the Human to
have an oil massage and bath every day. But Basava
(Bull) announced that eat daily and have an oil bath
once a month. This makes Lord Shiva furious and he
cursed the Basava (Bull) to live on the Earth forever and
said that Basava (Bull) has to plough the fields and help
people produce more food. Hence, people after
harvesting celebrate this festival with crops and cattle.
It is basically a harvesting festival or it can be
considered as the ‘thanksgiving’ festival’ because this
festival is celebrated to thank the Sun God and Lord
Indra for helping farmers in getting better-yielding
crops. During the festival, people reject old belongings
and welcome new stuff.
As we know India is an agricultural country and the
majority of the festivals are inclined towards nature.
Just like another festival, the Pongal is referred to as
Uttarayan Punyakalam which bears special significance
in Hindu mythology and is considered extremely