Thai Pongal 2017 – Tamil Harvest Festival 2017 – Ulavar Thirunal 2017 – Tamilar Thirunal 2017 – Pongal Celebrations
Tamil People’s Traditional Harvest Festival – Tamilar Thirunal Pongal Celebrations in Tamil Nadu
Pongal is a Tamil people’s traditional festival celebrated by Hindus for annual harvest in Tamil Nadu. Pongal Celebrations in Tamil Nadu is preceded by worshiping Sun god with utmost reverence and thankfulness. In precise Pongal is rejoiced for the agricultural profusion offered by god during one full year. Pongal literally means ‘overflow’ in Tamil which symbolizes the overflow of wealth, joy, and prosperity within a family. Pongal is a 4-day cultural and traditional festival of Tamil people celebrated from last day of Tamil month Margazhi to the first three days of Tamil month Thai. Each day of Pongal celebration in Tamil Nadu has its own historic and cultural importance. Copious happiness along with strong family bonding is developed with this event. Pongal is mostly celebrated by the Tamil people of Tamil Nadu and hence also called as ‘Tamizhar Thirunaal’ meaning Tamil people’s traditional festival.
Significance of Pongal Celebrations in Tamil Nadu
Every festival has its own significance and history. Of that Pongal is a festival of Sangam age. Pongal festival is celebrated for four days. All the four days are celebrated with immense joy and pleasure all around. Margazhikolam is the specialty in houses during Pongal celebration in Tamil Nadu. Kolam is nothing but different patterns drawn using rice flour and colored in front of the gate or in portigo. Houses are cleaned and whitewashed to welcome the Goddess of wealth during the festive time. It is one of the famous tradition and culture followed by Tamil people in Tamil Nadu. In the top of the front doors mango leaves and turmeric are hanged as a part of traditional practice.Doors are decorated with turmeric and Kumkumam. These are the sequences followed by Tamil people in the Pongal celebration in Tamil Nadu.
Thai Pongal Festival Days
The four different days of the Pongal festival include
- Thai Pongal
- Maatu Pongal
- Kaanum Pongal
Bhogi is the first day of Pongal which is on last day of the Tamil month Margazhi. Bhogi is dedicated to Lord Indra for the blessing of abundant rain. Lord Indra is the God of the sky and precious rains. Tamil Devotees offer veneration to god by presenting sweets and foods before god. Bhogi is celebrated with a concept – ‘dispose old possessions to welcome new comings’. On this day people used to burn their old belongings in the daybreak. It is believed that this will erase the bad happenings thereby create a new beginning of blissfulness into one’s life. Along with that burn flames, Tamil people used to dance as a part of Pongal celebration in Tamil Nadu to express their contentment.
Thai is the tenth month of Tamil calendar. It falls either on 13th or 15th of January on a regular basis. Pongal is a holy festival celebrated on the first day of this month and hence termed as Thai Pongal. This day marks the second day of Pongal ceremony. Pongal is the name of the Tamil people’s food which is prepared during the Pongal days.
The Pongal cuisine is cooked in a small earthen pot with ginger and turmeric wound around the pot. The first harvested paddy is used for cooking rice. Rice along with jaggery, cashews, cardamom, etc are mixed and boiled in rice to get the delicious Pongal. The recipes of Pongal celebration will be overflowing out of the pots which signify a good sign of growth. When it overflows people used to scream ‘Pongalo Pongal’ to express their happiness.
Two types of Pongal are prepared namely Venn Pongal and Sweet Pongal which are made my Tamil people during the Pongal celebration. Food preparation is made in front of the sunlight and dedicated to the Sun god. Hence Thai Pongal is also known as Surya Pongal. On both the sides of the god sugarcanes are kept which is the essential portion of the festival. Only after offering prayers to god foods are tasted by the devotees. Tamil Folks of Tamil Nadu wear new traditional clothes and go to temples in the morning in reverence to god.
Maatu Pongal (Festival of Cows) falls on the second day of Thai month. As the name indicates Maatu Pongal means ‘Pongal festival of cows’. Cows are decorated in a grand manner as well as their horns are painted in Tamil people’s houses. Garlands made of flowers, colorful beads and leaves are worn around the Cow’s head. Even loud sound bells are tied to the rope of cows to generate more rings. Those who are having cows will do this on a yearly basis. After all that decorations they are worshiped by lighting a lamp in front of their legs as a part of Pongal celebration. The customs are followed to show their gratitude by proffering chow to the cows which sacrifice a lot for human beings. Following that in the evening, cows are taken out for a round in their respective towns or villages of Tamil Nadu to show off delight. This marks the end of the Pongal celebration of this day in Tamil Nadu.
Jallikattu & its Importance on Maatu Pongal
Jallikattu or Sallikattu is the traditional game of Dravidian played in Tamil Nadu. “Salli” means coins and “Kattu” means “to tie”. Together it means tieing coins to the bull’s horns. The Bullfighter needs to embrace the bull for a particular distance and take the coins to win the award prize. “Maatu Pongal” stands to be the cultural festival of praising cattle. Hence, in many places of Tamil Nadu, Jallikattu events will be conducted as a part of the celebration.The most famous one is the Alanganallur Jallikattu near Madurai. It is one of the renowned sports of ancient Tamil Nadu that prevailed for years together. But, it was banned by the Supreme Court recently according to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. This was the most unexpected action taken by the Government of India. As a true Tamil blood, we need to strive hard in some possible way to bring back Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
Last day of the Pongal celebration is known as Kaanum Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Kaanum means ‘to visit’ which means to visit their relatives’ houses and go outing with them. That is, there exists a get-together of different family members residing at various places. Apart from the above, there will be many gift exchanges among the societal members to celebrate Tamil people’s traditional festival. The gifts include food, clothes and household items which are useful. All the picnic spots and tourist places will be filled by hundreds of thousands of people. An added beauty of the Pongal celebration in Tamil Nadu is that Tamil people’s game play activities like Jallikattu, Gummi, Kabaddi and other village sports.These games are played only by the Tamil people to celebrate their traditional festival of Pongal.
Pongal or Thai Pongal is a traditional festival of Tamils which falls on January 14, 2017, this year. Pongal means “overflowing” and this festival is celebrated so as to bring about overflowing happiness in life for the forthcoming years. Pongal is called to be the festival of farmers since this is the period of Harvest too. Also, Pongal is one big festival which brings not only joy but also harmony to our family. All the farmers will cook their first harvested rice and present before the Sun God. It is also celebrated to be the thanksgiving event for Mother nature. On the whole, the four-day festival Pongal is a traditional festival filled with cultural heritage. Let’s celebrate this holy festival of Pongal with bonds of love and Thanksgiving. With that note, I wish you all to have a very Happy and Prosperous Pongal this year.