Sunday, January 14, 2007

PONGAL - The Harvest Festival of South India

A very happy pongal to everyone!! Wishing that this festival is one, which brings good luck and prosperity and hoping that it is joyous, and fills your days ahead with happiness.

Pongal,a traditional occasion for giving thanks to nature,celebrates the life cycles that give us grain. It heralds the hope of a new era of prosperity.

The Pongal celebrations are spread over four days.

The day before Pongal is called Bhogi.This day is celebrated in honor of Lord Indra, "the Ruler of Clouds and Giver of Rains" and is associated with spring-cleaning and burning of junk, symbolizing the destruction of evil. On the day of Bhogi, people discard their old things by making a bonfire in front of their houses early in the morning amidst the beating of drums.

Decorative designs or rangolis are traced on floors and on the Day of the Pongal newly harvested rice is cooked along with fresh milk and jaggery during an auspicious time early in the morning. The milk is allowed to boil over the vessel — this is the tradition that gives the festival of Pongal its name.As soon as the boiling is over, the cooked rice, i.e. Pongal, is offered to the Sun God.
On the third day during 'Maatu Pongal', the cattle are colorfully decorated with flowers and saffron adorning their foreheads. Their horns painted and they are fed sumptuously.

Farmers pray for the good health of the cattle so that the animals can multiply and bring prosperity. They are then taken out to the racing tracks for cattle race and bullfight (aka Jallikattu)- an event full of festivity, fun, frolic and revelry.
The fourth and final day marks the Kanya or Kaanum Pongal when the birds are worshipped. Girls prepare colored balls of cooked rice and keep them in the open for birds and fowls to eat. On this day sisters also pray for their brothers' happiness. It is also a day of picnicing and get-together.

Similar Festivals celebrated in other regions of the country:
Makar Sankranti(North Indian states of India), Lohri(Punjab),Bihu / Bohaggiyo Bhishu(Assam),Hadaga Festival(Maharashtra)

Coming soon - the recipes of pongal :)...

Photo courtesy :

Ultimate Foodie at 11:41 AM



at January 14, 2007 at 5:04:00 PM PST Blogger Asha said...

Loved the photos and info! Such a colorful festival isn't it? Makes you go back and watch all that fun.Hope you had a good one!:)

at January 15, 2007 at 9:30:00 PM PST Anonymous Shals said...

Nice thoughts on pongal!!

at January 16, 2007 at 10:30:00 AM PST Blogger Nidhi said...

Happy Pongal to you as well and very heart warming pictures too, makes you think that your are in Inida...Thanks for sharing and voting for my recipe.


at January 16, 2007 at 2:27:00 PM PST Blogger Shammi said...

Wow, you have a LOVELY blog here - I think the banner logo is stunning! :) Nice detailed write-up too... something I felt too lazy to do on my blog! Good thing there are painstaking bloggers like you!


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