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Pongal is a South Indian festival celebrated mainly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Moreover, this festival is called Pongal or Uttarayan Punyakalam, which means boiling or overflowing. So, the four-day Pongal festival meaning marks the beginning of the spring season. On this festival, all the gods associated with the good harvesting of crops, such as Surya and Indra, are worshipped. However, while Pongal is celebrated in the Southern part of India, the people of Northern India celebrate Makar Sankranti.
Furthermore, the festival of Pongal is celebrated in the month of Tai (solar equinox) according to the Tamil calendar. Also, this festival is celebrated because the people of Tamil believe that during this festival, the journey of the Sun starts Northward. Moreover, the 4 days of Pongal are celebrated from 15th January to 18th January every year. During this festival, people welcome new beginnings by burning away all their old belongings.
According to Hindu tradition, the Pongal story revolves around the concern of Lord Shiva for his devotees. Lord Shiva noticed that the people on Earth were very carefree about their eating habits. So, Lord Shiva sent his bull, Nandi, to Earth as a messenger for all his devotees, saying that his devotees should take an oil bath every day and eat delicious and nutritious meals. Nandi became very confused and delivered the message saying that the devotees should eat simple meals and take oil baths once a month.
On hearing that, Lord Shiva got furious and sent Nandi back to Earth. So, to ask forgiveness, people started celebrating Pongal, where devotees would cook tasty meals such as Pongalmade of rice, milk and jaggery. The rice they eat on the day of Pongal is from the newly harvested crops, and would thank Lord Shiva on this day. So, the celebration of Pongal reminds the devotees about the concern of Lord Shiva and his forgiveness. On this day, all the relatives and friends gather together to cook and celebrate the festival of Pongal.
The festival of Pongal holds great significance in the hearts of South Indian people. This festival is mainly celebrated in South India because this region of India has great agricultural and economic significance. Moreover, this festival is also celebrated to honour the Sun God for a wonderful harvest. On this day, people decorate their homes and wear new clothes to mark the beginning of the Thai month. All the relatives and family members come together to thank the deities and farmers who have been a part of yielding or harvesting crops so that they can consume good foods.
Furthermore, on this day, the special dish prepared as a thanksgiving is offered to God and then consumed by the family members. Moreover, other than Pongal dishes, Tamil families prepare Payasam, sugarcane Pongal, ven Pongal, Medu Vada, Tamarind Rice, Lemon rice, coconut rice, curd rice and Idli Sambhar. Moreover, people beautifully decorate their homes with Kolams, which are colourful rice powders.
The four-day celebration of Pongal has its own significance. Each day holds equal importance, and there are certain rituals and remedies to be followed on all four days. So read below to know everything about the importance of Pongal in Tamil culture.
Concluding, this is all about the Pongal festival that we could cover on this page. We have mentioned the significance, rituals, and history of Pongal Festival. People unaware of the celebration and festival of Pongal, make sure to read about it so that you are well informed about it.