Everything You Need to Know About Pongal
India, the land which has a diverse culture and hundreds of festivals. Different state has a different culture. Therefore, they have different festivals too or sometimes rituals. Sometimes the reason behind the celebrations are the same, but the name and some rituals of those festivals vary according to states. People of India love to celebrate and show respect to nature and reason behind life-food. During the winter time, they celebrate the Pongal festival. It is a harvest festival which took place in the cold wintery time of India.
What is Pongal? Pongal is celebrated in which state? Here you will get to know the complete details about this amazing festival.
Pongal is observed in the state of Tamil-Nadu in mid-January every year. It is a four-day long celebration when the rice, turmeric, and other cereals are harvested. Pongal meaning -the name Pongal came as “ponga" means overflowing, and by tradition, the cooking of rice has to cook in pot until it overflows. It is Tamil Nadu famous festival, which people celebrate with great joy.
The Festival for Yellow
Thai Pongal(January-February) is celebrated to worship the sun god for the harvested food. It is a thanksgiving to the sun god. This time the sun begins to move towards the northern part of the earth. Pongal is also called the festival for yellow.
Significance of Pongal
Pongal in India starts on the day when the sun enters the Makara Rashi and the spring arrives the northern hemisphere. It has always been a time of festivals. Pongal becomes the celebration of spring, and the Tamil people decorate all their houses with mango leaves and banana leaves as well. They embellish the floor-front of the door, the entering of the house with different patterns by rice flour. This pattern signifies health and prosperity, and they do it in front of the house because they welcome it to their household. The legend says in this period the devas are awake after half of the year and they bestow wealth and prosperity on all over the earth. This period is very much auspicious and is called Uttarayan Punyakalam. It is said in Mahabharata that if anyone dies in this period, the person will attain salvation.
Even Bheeshma from Mahabharata waited for the first dawn of this period to leave his human body. On this festival, the farmers show respect to the food and worship it as it gives life. They cook rice in the pot until it overflows-this signifies abundance. On the first day of Pongal people decorate their houses, sometimes they also paint buffalo horns on the walls. The second day is very significant as it is known as Surya Pongal. On this day people wake up early, take a bath, paint their central courtyards with great kolam and pray to the sun god and seek the blessing to harvest all the year adequately. The most symbolic ritual of this festival is the preparation of the Pongal dish. They pour milk on a newly made pot and bring to boil then they add rice, sugar cane which comes from the new harvest and ties turmeric leaves in the neck of the pot. This dish is offered to Surya god. Every ingredient has their symbolic significance. The milk and rice signify wealth and prosperity and the turmeric leaves is a symbol of the good things that are on the way in the new year. Do you know there is also Pongal dance? This festival is full of amazing things.
How to Celebrate Pongal
Pongal is a four-day festival. Every day has its symbolic ritual towards god and nature. If you are the new one in the Tamil region then you might be wondering how to celebrate it! Well, just read on and get ready to celebrate it.
The first day is the Bhogi festival. On this day you can decorate your house. Worship Lord Indra- the god of rain and the ruler on the first day to seek his blessings for abundance harvest. Pay homage to Lord Indra for prosperity to the land. You can buy new vessels on the day and throw away old used ones for a new beginning.
The second day is the main festival Thai Pongal a puja is performed, and you can paint kolam on your house floor. Prepare a dish with milk, rice, sugar cane and sometimes with coconut, banana in a new pot which is tied with turmeric leaves and offer it to the sun god. Make sure to cook it under the sky to show respect to the sun god. On this day you can wear traditional cloth. In the village, the preparation and the puja are carried out with the same devotion but in a simpler way.
The third day is known as Mattu Pongal. This is the day for cows. The cattle get ready with multi-coloured bead, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn, flower and then they are worshipped. They are taken to the centre of the village. The arati is done to protect from the evil eye. The young men sometimes race their cattle. It makes the whole ritual very amusing to all. According to legends, Shiva once asked his bull, Basava to go to earth and say to the mortals to eat once in a month, oil massage and bath every day. But Basava made a mistake and asked them to eat every day and oil and bath once in a month. After this Shiva got angry and cursed Basava to be on earth to plough the fields with mortals to produce more food for them. This is why the cattle are worshipped.
The fourth day is known as Kannum Pongal. On this day the women of the household put a washed turmeric leave on the ground and put the leftover Pongal, sugar cane, red, yellow rice, also ordinary rice, betel nuts, betel leaves, turmeric leaves. They do it before having a bath in the morning. The women pray for their brothers' prosperity while the rice is being put on the leaves. They perform arati for their brother with limestone, turmeric water and sometimes rice and the water is sprinkled on the kolam in the courtyard of the house.
List of 10 Ultimate Gifts That You Can Give Your Adored Ones in Pongal
On the Pongal festivals, you can gift your loved ones some beautiful gifts. Here we have jotted down 10 gift ideas to make your work easier.
Ganesh Shadow Tea Light Candle Holder
It is the best gift for Pongal you can ever give to your dear ones. In today's generation, any person would like to have a relaxing time after a long hard day. These candlelight holders spread light all over the home. The specific candle holder's wooden structure and work over the body make it more beautiful. It has a beautiful art of Lord Ganesh which is more relaxing. The rope on the top of it helps to hang it anywhere the receiver wants. It can be placed anywhere in the house it will turn that space's atmosphere inviting and relaxing. Its covered structure will save the places from flames and spills of hot wax. These tea lights are perfect for any place in the house- living area, dining hall, bedroom. This awesome tea light candle holder can be purchased from Flipkart site at Rs.465.
Stainless Steel Pongal Pot
A Pongal pot is a very traditional and useful gift anyone on the day of chennai pongal. The Pongal pot is handy, and it has the capacity of 2-3 liters. It also comes with the free stainless-steel ladle and a lid. It has a body of stainless steel and copper bottom which makes it more traditional and healthier. You can get it at Rs.690 only, from Amazon. Wonderful deal! Is not it?
Sterling Silver Laxmi Idol
An idol of goddess Laxmi is a perfect and thoughtful gift any day. Pongal itself is a festival where you seek the blessings of wealth and prosperity. Laxmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. A silver idol of goddess Laxmi in the center with intricate floral design on the sides of the idol is the perfect gift to your loved ones to wish them good fortune and prosperity in life. It also has hallmark in the back. On Flipkart, you will get this silver Laxmi idol with delicate Crafts Man Ship. Grab it at only at Rs.2,449.
Blue Printed Pickle Storage Jars
Pickle is one favourite thing all over India. Is not it? Well, a pickle storage jar is the must gift you should consider in Pongal festivals. An abstract printed blue pickle jar is a beautiful one to gift to store pickles. It is a handcrafted stoneware jar that you can gift to your dear one without thinking twice. It comes with spoons and an amazing tray. Dimensions of the both of the jars measures: 7.62 x 7.62 x 7.62 cm and it’s tray measures 8 x 8 x 2.5 cm. from Myntra site you can get it at Rs.521 only.
Dry Fruits with Namkeen Box Combo
A dry fruit box is the healthiest gift you can ever gift anyone in the festive season especially on Pongal as it is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu. This box contains almonds, pistachios, chocolate, and namkeen. It is certainly a great gift that will surely delight the receiver. You can get this combo from Flipkart website at Rs.608 only.
Handmade Decorative Wind Chime
A wind chime is an ethnic taste of gift which you can gift on Pongal. This is undoubtedly a great present for Pongal gift Chennai. This multicolored handcrafted and hand-painted wind chime can give any home a beautiful ethnic and chic look. Hanging it with the rope in living space or balcony will spruce up the appearance of the space. It is made of made with wood and copper, which offers it long lasting durability. From Myntra website, you can get this handmade wind chime at Rs.599 only.
Charming Kota Silk Saree
A silk saree is always the favorite apparel of the Tamilian women. So, you can count on this Kota silk saree that has a beautiful design work on the sides. This lightweight saree is certainly the best gift for Pongal gifts Chennai. It is available in different colors and you can select the one of your choice. Grab it from Flipkart site at Rs.299.
Floral Designer Printed Ceramic Tea Cups
Refreshing tea and coffee are always in favor of any Indian and if it becomes a gift on Pongal then certainly it will one of the amazing gifts. This floral designer printed tea cups hold the capacity of 200 ml. They are made of the finest quality ceramic that offers them the optimum durability. These cups come in a set of four and you can get this pack from Flipkart website at Rs.599 only.
Folk Framed Wall Paintings Set
This folk art influenced wall painting set is one of the most beautiful gifts for your friends on the Pongal day. It is composed of top quality wood and canvas, which lends it high durability. Its height and width measure 35.5 cm. This set comes in three exotic pieces that showcase an amazing fusion of hues. Why not make Chennai Pongal for your friends by gifting this mesmerizing set as a gift! You can get this Folk Framed Wall Paintings Set at Rs.999 from Myntra website.
Classic Sling Bag with Adjustable Strap
A classic sling bag is undoubtedly a good and nice gift to any woman on a festive day. This exquisite piece measures 26 L x 12 W x 20 H cm with the strap, which has the height of 48 cm. It is made of the top quality PU leatherette leather along with polyester lining inside. This features adjustable strap, two compartments that has a magnetic closure button. It is available in a myriad of stunning colours and you have an option to choose one. You can get this striking sling bag from Amazon site at Rs.448 only.
Special Things You Can Do On Pongal
Make Top Pongal Dishes
Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu, and on this day of celebrations, you can prepare some top dishes to make it more special. Sakkarai Pongal, Thiruvathirai Kootu, Akkara Medical, Thalagam Kuzhambu, Kalkandu Pongal, Ulundu Vadai, Puliyodarai, Puran Poli, Avial, Kothamalli Sadham, Andhra Pulihora are some top dishes you can prepare on these Pongal days as Pongal food.
Spread Love with the Best Gifts
Gifts are welcome and unique in any festival. You can make anyone feel special by gifting them Pongal presents. As now you have a list of some amazing gifts so you can pick any and give it on Pongal to your near and dear ones. This will make them feel special and it will help you in spreading your love to your loved ones.
Donate Something Useful to The Needy
A festival is always a great time to do something for the poor. It is also considered to be the best deed done by human beings. You can donate blankets and clothes to the poor people who are in dire need of it. You can also give food or rice and other cereals as it is the celebration of the new harvest.
Use the Festival to Focus On Extended Family
Pongal gives a natural opportunity to re-connect with family you normall don't get to interact with in the daily rush of life. So call up all those you haven't talked to in a while and exchange greetings. As it is a time for new beginnings forgive any slights and make the effort to bring back familial closeness. Even if you don't usually gifts, use the festival as a reason to give a small gift as it is tangible way to show your feelings of warmth.