or Makar Sankranti is one of the most important
and popular four-days-long harvest
festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu and southern
states of India.
A rich and abundant harvest of paddy and other crops
depend mainly on sunlight and rain and the Pongal
is the “thanks giving” to the Sun God
and the God of Rain.
Pongal will be celebrated on January
14, 2013. Pongal date may vary by up to one
day in various parts of India depending on the local
custom dictates, the use of the old or new Hindu solar
calendar or astronomical tables.
Literally the Pongal means “boiling
over" and the name of the festival is
derived from ‘Pongal’ a rice
pudding made from freshly harvested rice, milk
and jaggery boiled together.
Pongal is the day when the sun begins its northward
journey. To Hindus, the sun stands for knowledge,
spiritual light and wisdom. Makara
Shankranti signifies that we should turn away
from the darkness of delusion in which we live, and
begin to joyously let the light within us shine brighter
and brighter. We should gradually begin to grow in
purity, wisdom, and knowledge, even as the sun does
from this day.
Four Days Festival
Pongal is the biggest harvest festival of South India
spread over four days and each day have specialty.
This first day is celebrated
on the last day of the month of Margazhi as Bhogi festival
in honor of Lord Indra, the God of thunder and rain
who bless with rains. Homage is paid to Lord Indra for
the abundance of harvest, and bringing prosperity to
home and the land.
The second day is Surya
Pongal also called Perum
Pongal. It is the most important day and people
worship Surya deva the Sun God and his consorts, Chaya
and Samgnya. On this day the puja or act of ceremonial
worship is performed when rice is boiled in milk outdoors
in an earthenware pot and will be offered symbolically
to the Sun God along with other oblations.
The third day is known
as Mattu Pongal and celebrated
to glorify cattle that help farmers to get good harvest.
They are decorated with Multi-colored beads, flower
garlands and bells tied around the neck and they are
worshiped and fed with “Pongal”.
The fourth day the festival
is celebrated by a family get together and all of the
house assemble in the courtyard or on the riverbanks
and have a sumptuous meal (kootan choru). It is also
time for some traditional dances such as kummi
Pongal is celebrated as Makar Sankranti (Sankaranthi)
in Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh,and in
Karnataka it is celebrated by making Ellu (preparation
of a dish with sesame seeds, coconuts, sugar blocks,
etc) and exchange of sugar cane pieces and Ellu with
neighbors, friends and relatives.
In Andhra Pradesh the day is called Bhogi (Lord Indra
also called Bhogi) . On Bhogi
day, in the early morning, a bonfire is lit up
with waste before the traditional special bath. Pongali
(rice pudding with milk) is the important item during
this day. Pongal is an ancient festival of the Tamils
and it is not known when exactly the Tamils began celebrating
the festival, but some historians believed to have been
celebrated during the Sangam Age, i.e., 200 B.C. to
Pongal is one of the major gifts giving festival in
South India. The exchange of gifts enhances the joys
of the festival and helps to develop stronger bonds
of love and affection between friends, relatives and
neighbors. The people pay a visit to their near and
dear ones and exchange different kinds of sweets or
dry fruits as Pongal gift to Children. In villages,
it is customary for farm laborers to get ‘Pongal
Padi' or ‘Pongal Parisu’ (Pongal Gifts)
from their masters.
Lord Sun Sculpture in metal is one of the popular corporate
gifts in addition to various woodcarvings and the lenth
of the list is increasing year by year.
Though there is a tradition to visit dear ones and personally
greet them with Pongal Gift but for dear ones staying
in different cities and countries people send Pongal
gift by means of courier or online