There’s more heating up on Pongal weekend than just the weather. In India, where this holiday is celebrated, there is a lot going on. If you don’t know about it already, read on to learn about Pongal, one of the coolest celebrations in India. It’s Pongal weekend!
Pongal is one of the most important celebrations for the people of Tamil Nadu. It is the harvest festival! It is celebrated for four days, usually from January 13th to 16th. Pongal signals the start of the sun’s journey to the north.
- Bhogi marks the start of a new cycle. On this day, people get rid of their old stuff, such as household items, and replace them with new ones. Traditionally, people burned their old items creating a bonfire. Then, young children would play drums around the fire and dance to the beat.
- The second day is the actual day of Pongal celebration. In all villages, people gather in a public place to cook the newly harvested rice in a pot with milk, jaggery and coconut. Every household brings their own pot and ingredients. The cooking starts at the same time. As the rice gets fully cooked and overflows the pot, people shout “pongal o pongal!” and the celebration begins. The pongal dish is distributed to family and friends gathered around. The Hindus believe the overflowing of the cooked rice is an offering to the sun god for the good harvest they received. On this day, people also visit temples and draw beautiful kollams in front of their homes.
- The third day is called Mattu Pongal. This day is dedicated to the farmers thanking all who helped them in the harvest – especially the bull and cow. To show their appreciation, the horns of the bulls and cows are decorated and they are fed good food.
- The fourth and final day is called Kanun Pongal. On this day, families get together. Relatives, near and far, meet each other to celebrate pongal and share the joy of the good harvest.
Pongal is a wonderful festivity in India. Volunteers who have been in Chennai for Pongal loved it. If you missed it this year, make sure you don’t next year. Register now and join the January 2018 service program in India to experience Pongal weekend yourself!