Pongal is the harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu in the month of January. Harvest festivals are celebrated to thank nature for providing and blessing the nation with good crops. However, Harvest festivals are celebrated in different months in different parts of the country due to diversity in climate. There are many harvest festivals celebrated in India such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Makar Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, Bihu in Assam, Lohri in Punjab, Baisakhi in Haryana and Punjab. Pongal is the oldest and colorful harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu in the month of January. Pongal is celebrated for four days in Tamil Nadu. The first day of celebration is called as Bhogi. It is the preparatory day before the Pongal festival where people burn old and unwanted things representing spring cleaning and getting ready for the Pongal celebration with new pots and vessels.
The second day of celebration is the main festival called as Perum Pongal which is celebrated on the first day of Tamil month Thai which starts on 14 January every year. On this day, people wear traditional clothes (women wear sarees and men wear dhotis). The front yard of every house is decorated with Special Rangoli designs which shows the drawings of Sun, Pots and Sugarcane. People make white pongal ( Ven Pongal )by boiling rice in new pots and also make Sweet Pongal by boiling rice with jaggery in pots. People offer the cooked Pongal dishes and Sugarcane to thank the nature for giving good crops. The third day of celebration is called as Mattu Pongal. Maatu means Bull and on this auspicious day, cattles are washed and people decorate their bulls and cows with colorful paints and multi-colored beads on their horns to honor their effort and hard work in helping the farmers in raising crops on their fields. The world famous Village Sport called Manji Virattu also known as Jallikattu is held on many villages on this Mattu Pongal day.
The fourth day of celebration is called as Kannum Pongal or Kanru Pongal which means Calf Pongal. On this day, the calves are washed, fed and decorated and also on this last day of pongal celebration people visit elders and honor them and get their blessings.
Let’s all have a wonderful Pongal festival celebration with grateful heart to thank our nature for blessing us with good crops.