If you are an Indian citizen, you will find numerous reasons to celebrate life through festivals. In India, there is a diverse culture that exists here is due to different seasons, and the entire calendar is packed with festivals. This festival gives a great start to a cheerful year ahead.
India is an agro-based economy and a huge chunk of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. This festival is celebrated for harvesting crops and also to pay gratitude to the Sun, Earth and cattle that helps in the process of harvest.
Why Pongal festival is celebrated and its significance –Pongal festival is celebrated in the southern part of India and this festival last for 3 days. Pongal comes from a Tamil word that means – to boil. On this particular day, rice is booked first in milk, and then it is offered to God for showing gratitude. Boiled rice is offered to the cow and then to all members of the family. Pongal is celebrated when turmeric, rice and sugarcane are harvested. This festival is celebrated as means of showing gratitude to God for the harvest of the year. Pongal is the name of the dish which is consumed as part of the festival celebration.
Customs and Traditions associated with it –
Festivities start when people boil the harvested rice and then offered it to the sun God. Traditions also include drawing kolam, which is rangoli made from rice flour, chalk and chalk powder, playing on the swing and cooking traditional delicacies. Kolam is a decorative art form that is rangoli to welcome goddess Lakshmi who brings prosperity, wealth and happiness to the household. Various types of dishes using rice, jaggery and lentils are prepared.
Pongal is known popularly as Bihu in Assam. People worship God Agni in the early morning which is followed by a celebration with family and friends. The Makar Sankranti festival involves the tradition of preparing Ganga Sagar Mela or rice sweet. The people of Punjab celebrate Lohri when people gather around a bonfire. They eat and exchange with friends. In Andhra Pradesh, the Bhogi festival is known by the name Bhogi.
Cycle By Season-
This festival is celebrated in different parts of the country with different names. It is celebrated in the North Eastern states of Assam with the name Bhogali Bihu. People worship the God of Agni in the early morning which is followed by a celebration and feast with friends and family.
Day 1 –
Bhogi Pongal – This day is celebrated with family and friends. The Bhogi Pongal Day is a day to show gratitude towards Lord Agni. On this day, all the old items are set on fire and surge to start life all over again. On this day, old items are discarded or burnt to evade negative things to start new in life.
Day 2 –
The second day is celebrated in the honour of Lord Sun and jaggery and milk is offered. Large image of Lord Sun is drawn on plank which is laced on ground and beautiful kolam designs are drawn on the plank.
Day 3 –
Mattu Pongal –
This day is dedicated for showing the gratitude to Mattu or cattle which gives milk. Cattle are taken for satisfying bath and they are decorated with metal caps and are painted. The Pongal food is offered to cattle. They are taken out for bullfighting called as Jallikattu.
Day 4 –
Kenya Pongal –
This is the last day of Pongal. Birds are worshipped. The ladies of the house make colourful balls of rice and put them in the open so that birds can eat. Also, sisters pray for good life and well being for their brothers.