Four Days of Pongal Festival 2019

Pongal festival is one of the most popular festivals celebrated mainly in South India. Pongal is a harvest festival and is celebrated for 4 days. Tamil Pongal festival starts from the last day of Margazhi month and ends on the third day of Thai month. The first day of Pongal is celebrated as Bhogi Pongal, the second day as Surya Pongal, third day as Maatu Pongal, and final day as Kaanum Pongal. This year, the date of  Pongal festival is from 14th January to 17th January 2019.

Four Days of Pongal Festival in Tamilnadu

First Day - Bhogi Pongal

Bhogi is celebrated in honor of Lord Indra who is worshiped for bestowing adequate harvest. On the day of Bhogi, people throw away and destroy old clothes and materials and set them on fire. This marks the end of the old Thai and the arrival of the new Thai. People draw Kolams (floor designs drawn using white paste of newly harvested rice) to decorate their houses. Also, fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane are brought from the field as a preparation for the next day. Before cutting the paddy, special puja is performed. The farmers smear their ploughs and other tools with sandalwood paste and worship the sun and earth.

This is the day when people throw useless household articles into a fire made of wood and cow-dung cakes. Dances are performed by girls around the bonfire and songs are sung in praise of the gods, the spring and the harvest. Bhogi Pongal date is on 14th January 2019.

Second Day – Thai Pongal

Also known as 'Surya Pongal', Thai Pongal day is dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun God. This festival marks the first day of the Tamil month of Thai and this is the day on which the celebration begins. New rice is collected on the day and cooked in pots until they over flow. The pots are decorated with flowers, sugarcane pieces and turmeric plants. With the first offering made to the Sun, the overflowing of rice is the festive occasion where people shout Pongal-o-Pongal!

Thai Pongal or Surya Pongal 2014

Sun God is offered boiled milk and jaggery. The image of the Sun God is drawn on a board and Kolam designs are drawn around it. Then Puja is offered to Sun God to seek his blessings. People prepare a dish called venpongal, a combination of rice with dhal and sugar. They also prepare with dhal and jaggery (sweet), called Sarkarai pongal. Thai Pongal date is on 15th January 2019.

Third Day - Maatu Pongal or Mattu Pongal

This day is dedicated to cattle and hence called as Maatu Pongal or Mattu Pongal. On Maatu Pongal day, prayers are offered to bulls, cows and other farm animals which help for agriculture. Farmers clean their cattle, paint the horns and cover with shining metal caps. They also tie multi-colored beads, tinkling bells, bunch of corn and flower garlands around their necks. People worship the cattle by bending down, touching their feet and foreheads and Aarati is shown. The cattle are then fed with Pongal. Maatu Pongal date is on 16th January 2019.

Jallikattu

The highlight of Maatu Pongal day is the bull festival called Jallikattu or taming the wild bull. Jallikattu is generally seen in villages where the young men participate with more enthusiasm. One of the most popular events is the one held at Alanganallur, near Madurai. Jallikattu is also called as Manju Virattu which means chasing the bull.
Jallikattu during Maatu Pongal 2014


Fourth Day - Kaanum Pongal

Kaanum Pongal, also spelled Kanum Pongal, is the final day of Pongal celebrations. Kaanum pongal is also known as Thiruvalluvar Day. Kaanum means to view and on this day, people meet other family members to enjoy the day. Younger members of the family pay homage to the elders and the elders thank them by giving money. This day is marked to thank friends and relatives for their help in the harvest. Some people take the first bit of rice cooked and set it outside for the crows to eat. Kaanum Pongal date is on 17th January 2019.

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