What You Need to Know About Pongal

Pongal Festival: A Celebration of Harvest

Pongal is a multi-day Hindu harvest festival celebrated by Tamils in Sri Lanka and India. It falls in the month Tai of the Tamil solar calendar. The festival typically occurs around January 14 each year. In the western hemisphere, it is known as Thai Pongal. Here are some things to know about this festival.

Traditional Pongal Dish

Pongal is traditionally made with rice, milk, moong dal, ghee, jaggery, and vegetables. A few of the popular vegetables in the dish are broad beans, lima beans, pumpkin, and raw banana. A few spices such as curry leaves and black pepper are also added to the dish.

A Ritual of Fasting and Good Fortune

The festival of Pongal marks the end of the night that lasts for six months and the beginning of the day of the Gods. Young girls in their youth often fast during this time of year, hoping to bring prosperity to their families. In ancient times, this fasting was considered a ritual to bring good fortune and a bumper crop.

Thanksgiving to the Sun god

Pongal is also celebrated as a thanksgiving meal to the Sun god. It is traditionally cooked in an earthen pot, usually under the sun. The best rice from the new harvest is used for the dish. Other ingredients include ghee, sugar cane, and raisins. The food is offered to the gods to wish for prosperity and good luck in the coming year.

Four Days of Joyous Celebrations

Pongal celebrations are celebrated over four days. The first day is Bhogi, which is dedicated to the god Indra. People also throw away anything they don't need on Bhogi. On the second day, known as Thai Pongal, the rice dish is offered to the Sun. In the last day, known as Kanum Pongal, the festival is celebrated with a picnic.

A Sacred Harvest Festival

Pongal is a harvest festival that Tamils celebrate in South India. It coincides with the northward movement of the sun, and is considered to be a sacred festival. It is also a time to thank Mother Nature for the abundance of crops and animals. For this reason, the Tamil people of this part of the world celebrate the festival enthusiastically.

Dates and Celebrations

The festival lasts for four days, beginning on the 14th of January and lasting through the 17th. In 1937, The Straits Times published a full-page article about Pongal. On 14 January, The Hindu also published an article about the festival. It is celebrated throughout Tamil Nadu. In 2022, the festival will be celebrated on January 14.

Pongal Celebrations Beyond Temples

Thai Pongal is also celebrated in Thailand. It is the harvest festival celebrated for four days. In Singapore, it is celebrated for over a month. Temples are decorated with colorful decorations, and the sounds of Indian music can be heard as people celebrate this harvest festival. In some areas, however, Pongal celebrations go beyond the temples.

A Symbol of Harvest and Seasons

Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in mid-January. It commemorates the end of the winter season and the beginning of the harvest season, Uttarayan. It also coincides with Makar Sankranti, the harvest festival celebrated in northern India. Pongal also symbolizes the continual heating of the earth.

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