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India is an agrarian economy and hence has many harvest festivals that are celebrated with much pomp and vigor in different parts of the country. Each region that grows something has at least one harvest festival to celebrate. Pongal is essentially a harvest festival of Tamil Nadu even though it is celebrated in other parts of the world also. It is a four-day festival and in 2017, it falls on January 14. The celebrations are on the same day as Makar Sankranti that is widely celebrated in India. A day before Pongal is Lohri that is primarily celebrated in Punjab. ALSO SEE Pongal holidays are no longer compulsory Also Read - Sunny Leone's Sexy Silver Monokini Look as She Strikes Sultry Pose in The Pool is Too Hot to Handle



Pongal is also the name of a dish that is made on this festival. The prime reason for celebrating Pongal is to thank the sun god for being kind and giving a good crop year. It is also to pray for the new harvest season and seek blessings of Mother Nature for the harvest. Since Tamil Nadu is a rice-growing state, the importance of this grain is a lot. Pongal translates to boiling over and on the day of the festival, the rice is boiled and offered to the sun god. Also Read - Facts to Consider When Deciding to Travel After Coronavirus Pandemic Ends

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Pongal celebrations date back at least 2,000 years old as evidence suggests that it was celebrated even during the medieval Chola Empire days. Pongal is the first harvest festival of the year and in Tamil Nadu, it is also called Thai Pongal. This is because it falls in the Tamil month of Thai that is when the sun travels northward towards the equinox that represents the onset of gradual onset of summer. ALSO SEE How Pongal is celebrated in Tamil Nadu

On the day of Pongal, Tamilians prepare a special dish of the same name which is sweet in taste and is made by boiling rice and lentils and then sweetening them. The dish is consumed by all members of the family after it is offered to the god. The festival lasts for four days and there are different rituals for each day. The first day is reserved for prayers to the rain god and some people also light a bonfire in the evening and offer items into it. They even sing and dance around it. The next day is for offering prayers to the sun god. On this day, the rice is boiled in an earthen pot. People dress in traditional attire on this day. The third day of Pongal is for cow worship. People tie garlands and bells around the cow and cattle’s necks and then seek their blessings. The last day of Pongal is for the welfare of the home and the rituals are essentially performed by the women. A turmeric leaf is washed and placed on the ground and on it rice and other food items are placed. An aarti is performed by women using turmeric water to pray for their brothers and husband for their prosperity. All these rituals culminate the festivities of Pongal.

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