"Study at Bengaluru wish you all a very happy Pongal"

Pongal is a four-day long harvest festival celebrated mostly in the states of South India, especially in Tamil Nadu. It’s celebrated in the winters when the sun reaches at the extremes of the southern hemisphere and starts returning to the northern hemisphere (as per Hindu calendar). Pongal will begin on the 15th of January and will continue till the 18th of January.

The word “Pongal” is associated with rice and means “to boil”. The day is generally celebrated as a gesture of appreciation toward the Sun God for successful harvest. It is for this reason that people boil rice in milk and offer it to the sun before the commencement of the festival.

Since it’s a four-day festival, each day has its own significance. The first day is called the Bhogi festival and is observed to honour Lord Indra. A popular custom on this day is to burn all the useless items in a household by throwing them in a bonfire made of wood, cakes, and cow dung.

The second day of the festival is known as Thai Pongal. This is the day when people offer rice and milk boiled together to the Sun God. People also decorate their house entrances with Kolam. It’s usually done early in the morning after taking a bath.

The third day is celebrated as Mattu Pongal where people indulge in worshipping cows. As per the myth, Lord Shiva sent his bull—Basava to earth to send across the message that Shiva wants the mortals to take oil massage and bath daily and eat once a month. Basava got confused and conveyed just the opposite massage. Shiva, as punishment, asked Basava to return to the earth forever and help people produce more food by ploughing the fields.

The fourth and the final day is celebrated as Kaanum Pongal. On this day, the leftovers (food) are placed on a washed turmeric leaf along with sugarcane and betel leaves. The women then perform a ritual praying for the prosperity of their brothers.

A huge festival down south, Pongal is also known for its special traditional dishes. Witness this festival if you are in South India in the month of January.

 

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