Thai Pongal is a harvest festival that is celebrated on a grand scale by the Tamils in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and also in Sri Lanka. The festival of Pongal falls on the same day as Makara Sankranthi which is observed throughout India. The word ‘Pongal’ in Tamil means ‘to boil over’and the milk boiling over from the clay pot is symbolic of abundance and prosperity for the household.Thai Pongal celebrations traditionally last for four days and is an important Hindu festival of India.
Thai Pongal is celebrated on the first day of the Thai month followed by the Tamils,which usually falls on January 14 or 15. The name pongal refers to the traditional practice of preparing sweet rice infused with milk and jaggery in a new clay pot. In fact the rice that is used for making pongal is also freshly harvested and boiled with brown sugar or jaggery and topped off with ghee, raisins and cashew nuts. The traditional rice of pongal is usually prepared at sun rise. When the milk boils and spills over from the clay pot as used by rural households,the words “Ponggalo Ponggal” are traditionally uttered and the newly harvested rice is put into the clay piotamidst the blowing of the conch(sanggu) spills over.
Thai Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu as well as in Sri Lanka. The festival is celebrated to offer thanks to the Sun God and the livestock for creating the agricultural abudance. The preparation of Pongal rice with freshly harvested rice and milk and and allowing the milk to spill over denotes abundance and good luck. The pongal is prepared at sunrise and offered to Sun God thanking Him for the abundant harvest. The sweet pongal rice is then served to the others in the house along with other festive dishes such as murukku, vadai and paayasam. Friends and family visit each other to offer greetings and pongal rice on Thai Pongal day.
Thai Pongal iis a harvest festival celebrated for four days in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The first day is known as the Bhogi festival dedicated to the Supreme Lord Indra as a way of gratitude for bringing prosperity to the land. The Second day of Thai Pongal is celebrated by the cooking of the traditional pongal rice and worshippig Sun God. The third day known as ‘Mattu Pongal’ is the day when the cattle is worshipped and decorated with bells, beads and flowers. The Fourth day is celebrated as Kannum Pongal when special rituals are performed by the women folk seeking prosperity for their brother’s household.
While Thai Pongal is celebrated in Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as Sankrranthi or Makara Sankranthi in major states of India such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Benngal, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, UttarPradesh and Manipur. The harvest festival is celebrated as ‘Uttarayana’ in Rajasthan and Gujarat while it is observed as Lohri in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. In Assam, the festival is known as Magh Bihu while it is celebrated as Maghe Sankranthi in Nepal.
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