Pongal is the harvest festival celebrated by the Tamil people all around the world. It is a State Holiday in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The festival is celebrated on January 15th every year and is also one of the longest celebrations in the Tamil calendar, spread over four days. The festival of Pongal is held dear particularly by the farming community as it marks the end of harvesting season. The markets start receiving stacks of sugarcanes, turmeric saplings and a horde of farm produces.
Pongal is also celebrated as a thanksgiving festival for various Hindu deities. The festivities begin with `Bhogi’ and the first day is considered to be a prelude to the celebrations that follow. `Bhogi’ is observed as a thanksgiving occasion to `Indra’, the god of Heavens. The next day is the `Pongal’ day, which is celebrated to pay respects to `Surya’, the Sun god. It is the day of a new beginning. The third day of Pongal festival is celebrated as `Maattu Pongal’ as a mark of respect to the cattle, the farmer’s best friends. `Kaanum Pongal’ marks the end of the four-day celebrations.
People celebrate Pongal by generally going for sightseeing, shopping and exchanging gifts with relatives and friends. The farmers, during this time generally have more money as they have sold their produce. On all the four days people make a point to visit temples and get the blessings of their gods for a good and prosperous beginning to the New Year.
For many centuries as a traditional sport of valor, the Jallikattu ( Bull Fight ) is held in many villages across Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal Celebrations. The valor of the youth is put to test at the Jallikattu where the objective of the sport is to take the prize money, which is wrapped in a cloth and tied to the horns of the bulls. So those who are daring can go and get the prize money.
Happy Pongal – Pongal O Pongal