Pongal is an important festival in South India. This article tells us about Pongal celebration in India.

Pongal Celebration in India

Pongal is one of the most fascinating festivals commemorated with great enthusiasm in India. This is an ancient harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu state and is held in the 'Thai' month, which begins from mid-January to mid-February. Pongal marks the beginning of 'Uttarayana', the sun's movement towards the north for the next 6 months. For this reason, this festival is considered as an auspicious and perfect occasion for all events. This festival is celebrated to thank God and nature for blessing Earth with all the divine gifts in life. Pongal is celebrated for four days and each day is celebrate din a unique manner. Several rituals are performed and many customs are followed during these auspicious days. Today, Pongal is not only celebrated by the natives of Tamil Nadu alone, but also by other South Indian natives too. Read more about the Pongal celebrations in India in the following lines.

Pongal Celebration India

First Day Of Pongal
The first day of the Pongal celebrations is called 'Bhogi' festival and is observed in honor of Lord Indra, the 'God of Rains and Clouds'. People offer their prayers to Lord Indra for the richness of harvest, which will bring prosperity and joy to the people. As per tradition the people will perform the 'Bhogi Mantalu' , which is a very important ritual performed on this day. Useless or unnecessary household articles are flung into a pyre of wood and cow-dung cakes. Meanwhile, the girls dance around the pyre, singing songs to praise the Gods.

Second Day Of Pongal
On this day, a sacred ceremony is conducted to please the Sun-God and other deities. They celebrate this day by cooking rice in milk in a new earthen pot in the outdoors. Two sticks of sugar canes, coconuts and bananas are offered on a plate in addition to the boiling of the rice ceremony. The people dress in their finest traditional attire during the rituals. Various designs called 'kolam' are adorned on the floor using lime powder as part of the festivities. Another unique ritual is performed, where the husbands and wives in each household, throw away the utensils used for rituals and 'poojas'.

Third Day Of Pongal
The 'Mattu Pongal', forms the third day of the Pongal festival celebrations and is entirely dedicated to cows. According to the festival traditions, the tinkling bells, flower garlands, sheaves of corn and multi-colored gems are tied around the cattle and are worshipped with all sincerity. The 'pongal' dish, which is prepared as part of the festivities, is fed to the cattle and then they are taken to the village centres. The bell sounds will attract the people in the village and sometimes cattle races are also performed by the young men in the village. 'Arati' is then performed on the cattle to ward off evil eye.

Fourth Day Of Pongal
The fourth day of Pongal celebrations, also known as 'Kannum Pongal' marks the end of the Pongal celebrations. One of the rituals performed on this day includes the washing of the turmeric leaf and placing it on the ground by women during the early hours of the morning. Betel leaves, betel nuts, two sugar cane pieces, turmeric leaves, plantains and the leftovers of the sweet pongal and vennpongal will be placed on that turmeric leaf. All the women in the house will assemble in the courtyard when this ritual is performed and they will pray for the prosperity of the house and family. Arati will be performed on every male member with rice, limestone and turmeric water. The kolam designed in the front of the house will be sprinkled with this turmeric water.

Pongal festival marks the end of the farming period and represents the veneration of the first fruits of the harvest season. All four days are celebrated with immense passion by the natives of Tamil Nadu, although in some places, only the second day is considered important.

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