Pongal is an important festival celebrated all over India though the name differs from one state to another(mainly known as Harvest Festival). In Tamilnadu, it is called as “Pongal” and it bags more holidays than any other festival celebrated. Pongal is celebrated like a series of festivals in the successive days.
Pongal Day 1:
Pongal actually starts in the first day of new month under Tamil calendar namely “Thai”. But one day prior to this, we celebrate “Bhogi Festival”. On this day, houses/office premises would be cleaned to maintain a healthy environment. Also, unwanted things(waste or no-use materials) would be burnt in the streets. Likewise it is considered that we should eradicate all bad thoughts/behavior/jealously from oneself and make a fresh start to live as a good human. Nowadays, all environment lovers are protesting against burning fire on this day as people burn non-recyclable items like plastics,tyres, etc., which inturn pollutes the air.
We also form several leaf set consisting of neem leaves, mango leaves, Poolai poo (poolai flower), Avaram Senna(flower in yellow color) and it would be placed surrounding the house near the outside corner ceiling. All these leaves are of medicinal value and it is done to protect the house from viruses during winter season.
In the evening, food is prepared and offered to Goddess Sankranti. This day is celebrated as “Makara Sankranti” in most of the places in India.
Pongal Day 2:
This is the first calendar day of tamil month “Thai”. It is also called as “Suriya Pongal” or Pongal celebrated to show the offerings to the world’s first God “Sun”. Sweet Pongal is kept in the early morning time usually in the new mud pot and offered to God. Farmers consider this as a very auspicious day as their entire living is based on the fertile soil and without sun, harvesting cannot be done. Usually pongal is made from the fresh rice taken from the newly harvested paddy crop.
Sweet Pongal Key ingredients:
Raw Rice, Moong Dhaal or Green gram Dal, Jaggery, Cardamom Powder, Dates, Ghee, Grated Coconut.
Pongal Day 3:
This day is like a thanks note to the help done by herbivorous animals(Cow, Bull, Goat) in the farmlands. Pongal is made mainly for Cow(Goddess Cow) and offered to them in the banana leaf.
Pongal Day 4:
This is the last day of Pongal festival marked specially to visit family and friends. It is called “Kaanum Pongal” in Tamil, which actually refers to meet people. This day is also celebrated as “Thiruvalluvar Pongal” to recall and celebrate the wonderful writing namely “Thirukural” by Thiruvalluvar.
Not to mention the sweets and savories that we make at home and relish them during festival times. We also decorate our homes with beautiful Rangoli Kolams to welcome the Pongal Festival.