Pongal, a significant harvest festival predominantly celebrated in Tamil Nadu, South India, holds deep cultural and agricultural significance. It typically spans over four days and falls in mid-January, coinciding with the auspicious movement of the sun into the Capricorn zodiac sign, known as Makara Sankranti.
Pongal 2024 Date and Shubh Muhurat
In 2024, the Pongal festival will be celebrated for four days:
- January 14: Bhogi Pongal (Sunday)
- January 15: Surya Pongal (Monday)
- January 16: Mattu Pongal (Tuesday)
- January 17: Kannum Pongal (Wednesday)
Pongal dates depend on the Tamil solar calendar and hence vary every year. But it is always celebrated in the Tamil month "Thai" – around 14 or 15 January as per the Gregorian calendar.
Why is Pongal Celebrated?
Pongal celebrates the season of harvest, expressing gratitude to nature, the sun god, and cattle for their indispensable roles in agriculture. It marks the transition of the Sun to the northern hemisphere and the onset of longer, warmer days, signifying new beginnings and prosperity.
Pongal Significance, Rituals and Traditions
The festival derives its name from the dish 'Pongal,' a sweet rice pudding prepared using newly harvested rice, jaggery, milk, and ghee, cooked in earthen pots outdoors. The act of boiling the rice until it overflows from the pot symbolizes abundance and prosperity.
Bhogi Pongal, the first day, involves discarding old belongings and cleaning homes to welcome new beginnings. Thai Pongal, the main day, is dedicated to the preparation and offering of Pongal to the sun god, expressing gratitude for the harvest. Maatu Pongal honours cattle adorned with colourful garlands and fed special meals as a gesture of appreciation for their support in agriculture. Kaanum Pongal, the concluding day, involves family outings and gatherings, symbolizing togetherness and bonding.
Pongal is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm. Families come together, don new clothes, create colourful rangolis, and exchange greetings and gifts. Traditional folk dances like Kolattam and Kummi are performed, adding joy and vibrancy to the celebrations. Temples are adorned, and special prayers are offered to seek blessings for prosperity and well-being.
Feasting is an integral part of Pongal, with sumptuous meals comprising a variety of dishes like sambar, vada, payasam, and the essential Pongal delicacy served to friends, family, and neighbours.
Pongal stands as a testament to the agrarian culture, unity, and gratitude deeply ingrained in Tamil Nadu's heritage. Through its rituals, festivities, and expressions of thankfulness, Pongal celebrates not just the harvest but also the spirit of togetherness and abundance, resonating with the core values of community and prosperity.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 15, 2024 09:39 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).