- January 15 -

Pongal

Pongal or Thai Pongal a harvest festival celebrated by Tamil people at the end of the harvest season. Pongal marks the start of sun’s six-month long journey northwards (Uttarayana). Hindus consider the date as auspicious and mark this as the beginning of sun’s movement towards the...

Pongal

Pongal or Thai Pongal a harvest festival celebrated by Tamil people at the end of the harvest season. Pongal marks the start of sun’s six-month long journey northwards (Uttarayana). Hindus consider the date as auspicious and mark this as the beginning of sun’s movement towards the zodiac Capricorn (Makarm Rashi). Pongal is a four day festival which usually takes place from January 13 to 16 in the Gregorian calendar i.e., the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of Tamil month Thai.

The first day is called Bhogi. Many people burn and get rid of old household items and purchase new household items on this day. This marks the start of a new cycle.
The second day is Perum, also known as Surya Pongal or Thai Pongal, and is the most important day of Pongal. This day coincides with Makara Sankranthi which is a winter harvest festival celebrated throughout India. The day marks the start of sun’s six-month long journey northwards or the Uttarayanam. The day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India. This also represents the Indic solstice when the sun purportedly enters the 10th house of the Indian zodiac i.e. Makara or Capricorn. The word ‘Sankranti’ means the transmigration of the Sun from one Rashi (Zodiac) to another, namely from Dhanu Rashi (Sagittarius) to Makar Rashi (Capricorn). Many people worship the sun god, Lord Surya by offering prayers on this day. Many people also wear new clothes and women decorate houses with Kolam (designs) using rice flour and red clay. People celebrate the occasion by flying kites, from their rooftops. Kite flying competitions are also organised on this festival. One major aspect of this festival is a must-take bath in the holy Triveni Sangam in the city of Prayag in Allahabad. Famous as the king of all holy places, this Sangam is the point of confluence of three rivers: the Ganges, the Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati. All the gods are said to visit this place on this day to take a dip. Thus, people believe that taking a bath or dip in this sacred Sangam will not only wash away all their sins but also clear the way to heaven.
Mattu Pongal is the third day and includes worshipping cattle because it is believed that cattle help give a good harvest. The fourth day is called Kanum Pongal, which is when many people go on picnic and spend time with families and friends. The Pongal festival also includes exchanging gifts, dancing, and buffalo-taming contests.

It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Tamil people in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry, and Sri Lanka.

In Tamil, the word Pongal means "overflowing" which signifies abundance and prosperity. On the day of Pongal, at the time of sun rise there is a symbolic ritual of boiling fresh milk in a new clay pots and when the milk boils over and bubbles out of the vessel, people shout "Pongalo Pongal!" They also say "Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum" meaning "the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities" is often quoted regarding the Pongal festival. Thai Pongal is mainly celebrated to convey the appreciation and thankfulness to the Sun as it act as the primary energy behind agriculture and a good harvest. It is the Surya Mangalyam. Tamilians decorate their homes with banana and mango leaves and embellish the floor with decorative patterns drawn using rice flour.

Background
Pongal is associated with many legends but one of the most popular ones is the legend of Govardhan Mountain and legend of Lord Shiva and his bull, Nandi. According to the legend of Govardhan Mountain, Lord Krishna lifted the mountain on his little finger on Bhogi, which is the first day of Pongal, to protect the cattle and people from Indra, an angry rain god.

According to the legend of Lord Shiva, on the third day of Pongal, Lord Shiva sent his buffalo Nandi to tell people to have oil bath daily and eat once a month. However, Nandi became confused and told people to eat daily and bathe once a month. This angered Lord Shiva so he placed Nandi on earth to help humans harvest for more food, therefore Pongal became a harvest festival.

Pongal has many regional names. The most popular variations are:
- Makar Sankranti
- Lohri
- Bihu
- Hadaga
- Poki

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_Pongal
http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/india/pongal
http://scribol.com/anthropology-and-history/makar-sankranti-the-indian-festival-of-kite-flying-and-holy-baths

Categories:

More holidays on this day:

Hat Day

You may also like...

Interesting events from Religious category.

World Day of the Sick

The World Day of the Sick is a feast day of the Roman Catholic Church which was instituted on May 13, 1992 by Pope John Paul II. Beginning on February 11, 1993, it is celebrated every year on the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes, for all believers seeks to be "a special time of prayer and...

Buddha's Birthday

Buddha's Birthday, the birthday of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, is a holiday traditionally celebrated in Mahayana Buddhism. In many east Asian countries Buddha's Birth is celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar (in Japan since 1873 on April 8 of the...

Saint George's Day

Saint George's Day is celebrated on 23 April, the traditionally accepted date of Saint George's death in AD 303. For Eastern Orthodox Churches, which use the Julian calendar, 23 April currently falls on 6 May on the Gregorian calendar. It is celebrated by various Christian churches and by the...

Rapture Party Day - Judgment Day

You may remember that Harold Camping, president of Family Radio - a Christian broadcasting network - predicted that May 21, 2011 would be the beginning of the end of the world. On that evening, many non-believers - both Christian and non-Christian alike - celebrated what they felt was a misguided...

All Souls' Day

All Souls' Day commemorates the faithful departed. In Western Christianity, this day is observed principally in the Catholic Church, although some churches of Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes several All Souls' Days during the...

Saint Nicholas Day

The tradition of Saint Nicholas Day, usually on 6 December ( O.S. 19 December in most Orthodox countries), is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American Santa Claus, as well as...

Download KeepIn Calendar

Enjoy the interesting stories even on your phone or tablet