Pongal festival

Pongal festival

Pongal  follows a solar calendar and is celebrated on the Jan 14th every year. Pongal festival is celebrated only as hindu,  ithe Sun's movement northward for a six month period. In Hinduism, Uttarayana is considered auspicious, as opposed to Dakshinaayana, or the southern movement of the sun. All important events are scheduled during this period. Makara Sankranthi refers to the event of the Sun entering the zodiac sign of Makara or Capricorn.

In  temples bells, drums and conch shells herald the enjyous occasion of Pongal. To symbolize a bountiful harvest, rice is cooked in new vessel until they boil over. Some of the observance performed in the temple include the preparation of rice, the chanting of prayers and the offering of vegetables, sugar cane and flavouring to the gods. Disciple then consume the offerings to exonerate themselves of past sins.

Pongal signals the end of the traditional farming season, giving farmers a break from their unreleaved routine. Farmers also perform puja to some crops, signaling the end of the traditional farming season. It also sets the pace for a series of festivals to follow in a calendar year. In fact, four festivals are celebrated in Tamil Nadu . 'Bogi' is celebrated on January 13, 'Pongal' on Jan 14, 'Maattuppongal' on Jan 15, and 'Thiruvalluvar Day' on Jan 16.
The festival is celebrated for four days. On, the 1st day, Bhogi, the old things and clothes are thrown away and fired, marking the entering of a new life. The 2nd day, the Pongal day, is celebrated by boiling cow milk early in the morning and allowing it to boil over the pots - a tradition that is the literal translation for Pongal. People also prepare snacks and sweets, visit relation homes, and exchange hapinness. The 3rd day, Mattu Pongal, is meant to celebrate the festival of  cows and buffaloes, as they are used to plough the lands. On the last day, Kanum Pongal, people go out to vocations.

A festival called Jalli kattu is held in Madurai, Sivagangai and Theni,all in Tamil Nadu, on this day. Lots  of money are tied to the horns of Pongal ferocious bulls which the peoples try to retrieve money. Anyone joins in the community meal, at which the food is made of the freshly grain. This day is named and celebrated as Pongal in a fitting through out Tamil Nadu.

Thus, the  festival of Pongal symbolizes the veneration of the first fruit. The crop is harvested only after a certain time of the year, and cutting the crop before that time is strictly prohibited. Even though Pongal was originally a festival for the farming community, today it is celebrated by all. In south India, all three days of Pongal are considered important. However, those south Indians who have settled in the north usually celebrate only the second day. Coinciding with Makara Sankranti and Lohri of the north, it is also called Pongal Sankranti in Japan and Java country also celebrated as pongal.
 

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