~ Thai Pongal ~
Festival Date - 15 Jan 2012
The four days of
Pongal have there own individual significance. Held in
the middle of
January, Pongal continues through the first four days of Thai
month that starts in the mid-January. The word Pongal literally
means "boiling over" and is celebrated by Hindus to mark the
harvesting of the bounteous crops in the fields.
The houses are
cleaned, painted and decorated and Kolam's (ground patterns made
out of rice flour) are made in the front yards of the houses.
day begins with the making of Kolams at the entrance
homes, as early as possible, in the morning. It is
auspicious to draw the Kolams before sunrise so that the
sun god can see them and come to bless
the particular household.
Every household, prides itself on making the most
exquisite floor drawings outside their homes. These
patterns drawn with rice flour, dyed in brilliant hues It
is an art handed down from one generation to the other.
(ground patterns made out of rice flour) generally drawn
with rice flour are special to
the occasion. The idea behind using rice flour
is that the insects would feed on it
and bless the household.
Sweet rice, known as Pongal, is cooked in a new earthenware pot
at the same place where puja is to be performed.
Fresh turmeric and ginger are tied around this pot. Then a
delicious concoction of rice, moong dal, jaggery and milk is
boiled in the pot on an open fire.
This Pongal, according to ritual, is allowed to boil over and spill
out of the pot. Once the Pongal is ready it is tempered with
cashew nuts and raisins
fried in ghee. Pongal, once ready, is offered to God first, on a
new banana leaf along with other traditional delicacies like vadas, payasam,
Besides this, sugarcane, grain, sweet potatoes etc. are also
offered to the Sun God.
following day is known as Mattu Pongal or the Pongal of
the cow -
a day dedicated to the revered cow.
The fourth day of Pongal also holds special importance.
This is the day when the bond between friends and
relatives are re-strengthened by visiting their homes and
thoughts of love and care.
Legends Related to
many other Indian festivals, Pongal also has a few
interesting legends attached to it signifying the
importance it holds. The most popular legend is the one
connected to the first day of the Pongal celebration when
the Rain God, Bhogi or Indra is worshipped. According to
the legend, on this day Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan
Mountain on his little finger to shelter his people and
save them from being washed away by the rains and floods.
legend is associated with the third day of Pongal
celebration, also known as Mattu Pongal. According to it,
Lord Shiva once asked Nandi, his bull, to go to earth and
deliver his message to the people - to have an oil bath every day, and food once a month. But Nandi got it all
mixed up when he delivered the message, and told the
people that Shiva asked them to have an oil bath once a
month, and eat every day. Shiva was displeased, and told Nandi that since the people would now need to grow more
grain, Nandi would have to remain on earth and help them
plough the fields. Mattu Pongal is also called Kanu Pongal,
and women pray for the welfare of their brothers.
information - details -