India is a land of different cultures, religions and diversities. With 2022, festivals are approaching, and the country is preparing to go all out on celebrations. One such auspicious festival is Pongal that is predominantly celebrated today in Tamil Nadu.
Pongal is dedicated to the Hindu god, Lord Surya. It concurs with Makar Sankranti in the north, which is also a harvest festival.
Pongal is celebrated over four days, with each day being marked by a different set of festivities. These days are Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Maattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal. This year, the dates are as follows:
Boghi Pongal- January 14, 2022
Surya Pongal- January 15, 2022
Mattu Pongal- January 16, 2022
Kaanum Pongal- January 17, 2022
History of Pongal
The event’s origins may be traced back to the Sangam Age, when it was known as the ‘Dravidian Harvest celebration.’ However, other historians suggest that this celebration has been going on for at least 2,000 years. It was known as Thai Niradal at the time.
According to mythology, unmarried girls pray for the country’s agricultural prosperity. For this, they observed penance during the month of Margazhi. Girls were supposed to abstain from consuming milk and oiling their hair throughout the Tamil month of Margazhi.
Significance and celebrations of Pongal
Pongal is known as Thai Pongal or Tai Pongal. As mentioned, it is celebrated in honour of Lord Surya. It is known as Uttarayan Punyakalam, which has auspicious significance in Hindu mythology.
- The first day, Bhodi Pongal, marks the last day of Tamil month Marghazi. Celebrations usually include lighting bonfires and burning scrap items.
- The second day, Surya Pongal, is celebrated by decorating houses with banana and mango leaves.
- The third day, Mattu Pongal, is celebrated by worshipping cows as gods by painting their horns with flowers and garlands.
- The fourth day, Kanum Pongal, is celebrated as people come together and celebrate the auspicious festival.