Thai Pongal Festival
Pongal festival also known as the harvest festival is commemorated to hail the Sun god for his immense blessings and bounties. Adding to it animals which were with the farmers and help them to harvest their crops are also revered.
Month of celebration:
Pongal is a harvest festival in Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated during the first day of the Tamil month Thai. Also called as Thai pongal, it is celebrated for 4 days, usually falls berween 13th and 16th January in Gregorian calendar. ‘Bogi’ is celebrated on January 13th, ‘Pongal’ on Jan 14th, ‘Maattuppongal’ on Jan 15th, and ‘Thiruvalluvar Day’ or “Kaanum Pongal” on Jan 16th.
Pongal has its astronomical significance as well. It shows the beginning of Uttarayana, when the Sun moves towards north for 6 months which is considered auspicious. To indicate a generous harvest, new rice is cooked in new pots until they boil over by adding milk, Ghee, jagerry and cardamom. Rituals performed in the temple by offering pongal, vegetables, sugarcane and spices to the gods. Devotees then consume the offerings to absolve themselves of their past sins.
Pongal also indicates the end of the farming season. It gives a break to the farmers from their monotonous routine work. Farmers also perform puja to the earth for giving good crops.
On the day of Mattupongal, people offer special poojas to the holy cows and Oxen. People decorate their cows, calves and bulls and offer pongal and fruits to them. In some region people conduct bull fight to show the valour of their oxen.