Pongal, also referred to as Thai Pongal is a multi-day Hindu harvest festival of South India, particularly in the Tamil community. It starts on 14th January 2020, which is Tuesday, and go on till four days till the 17th January 2020. It is a traditional harvest festival which is regarded as one of the most important festivals for the Tamilians. Pongal is dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, the Surya to convey appreciation to the Sun God for providing energy for agriculture. It corresponds to Makara Sankranti, the harvest festival under many regional names celebrated throughout India.

The four days of the Pongal festival are called Bhogi Pongal, Thai Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal.

The word Pongal is derived from the Tamil word Ponga, which means to boil. The meaning of Pongal means overflowing and is named so because of the tradition of cooking the new rice in pots until they overflow, which is a symbol of abundance and prosperity.

On this occasion, Tamilians decorate their houses with mango, banana leaves and colourful patterns made up of rice flour. Further, the dishes are been served in the traditional way by using banana leaves.

It is also believed that the auspicious month is a traditional month for weddings as the end of the harvest season is associated with an abundance of food.

According to Drik Panchang, the Thai Pongal Sankranti will begin at 02:22 am on January 15, 2020.

Bhogi Pandigai (January 14, 2020)

Surya Pongal/Thai Pongal (January 15, 2020)

Mattu Pongal (January 16, 2020)

Katya Pongal (January 17, 2020)

Ceremonies performed in the festive carnival

The First Day

According to Panchang, the first day of the festival is celebrated in the honour of Lord Indra as Bhogi festival. Lord Indra is said to be the God of rain, that is why he is being honoured for providing prosperity to the land. On this day, people throw their useless household items into the bonfire made up of wood and cow dung cakes, that is why it is also observed as Bhogi Mantalu.

The Second Day

According to Panchang, the rice is boiled in the milk in an earthenware pot outside the house which is then owed to the Lord Sun along with other offerings. The ritual utensils which are used in the ceremonies are disposed of by the husband and wife. A turmeric plant is tied with the pot which has to be used for boiling rice.

The Third Day

According to Panchang, the third day of festive carnival is known as Mattu Pongal which is meant to be the day for cows. Cows are worshipped after adorning with multi-coloured bells, a swag of flowers, tinkling bells and sheaves of corn. After feeding cows with Pongal, they are taken to villages. Reverberant sound of their bells attract the villagers and the men organize a race within cattle.

The Fourth Day

According to Panchang, the final day of carnival is known as Knau or Kannum Pongal day. A turmeric leaf is washed properly and is then placed on the ground. The residue of sweet and Venn Pongal, ordinary rice, coloured rice, plantains, betel leaves, betel nuts and two pieces of sugarcane are placed on that leaf by the woman of the house before bathing. All the women of the house gather in the courtyard of their house. In the centre of the leaf, rice is placed and pray for their brothers family to flourish.