Pongal Festival 2017When :14th to 17th January, 2017
Location :Tamil Nadu
Pongal or Thai Pongal is Tamil Nadu’s grand harvest festival that spreads its merriness and festive vibes across Puducherry, Sri Lanka, and all the countries where Tamilians have established themselves. The date of this festivity usually coincides with Makar Sankranti, which is the biggest winter festival celebrated each year across India, during the mid week of January. Pongal festival celebration carries a great significance for Tamil people and paves way for summers to take on the charge from receding winters. According to the mythological beliefs, the sun sets off for its northwards journey of 6 month on this auspicious day and people pay their gratitude to the Sun God. He is worshipped with utmost reverence and religiousness, and as part of a ritual named Surya Maangalyam, rice from the first crop of the season is boiled and offered to him.
High spirits of the harvest festival Pongal go on painting the entire Tamil Nadu with vibrant colours of celebration and joy! The preparations of this four day long festivity starts taking place a month before its arrival. Floor of the main entrance is adorned with beautiful Kolam (Rangoli) patterns that females of the house draw using rice flour and coloured powders available in the markets, and people whitewash their homes to welcome the most awaited festival of Pongal.
The first day of the four days long fiesta is called Bhogi, when people bring new things home and abandon the old belongings. People in Tamil Nadu come together at the time of dawn to burn all the old discards and clean up their respective houses. Home decorations are done, horns of the livestock are painted brightly and medicinal herbs are kept in northeast corner of the field by the farmers to stop diseases and pests from entering the crops.
The second day brings the main festival of Thai Pongal to the foreground, which is celebrated as Makar Sankranti in the rest of the country. Milk is boiled in a pot on this auspicious day and the rice grains from the fresh harvest of the season are added to it. Sweets and savories are distributed to the neighbors, Kolams are drawn on the floor and homes are embellished with fresh mango and banana leaves.
The day following the Thai Pongal is called Maatu Pongal, which is specially meant for extending gratitude and thankfulness to cattle and livestock that people own. Cattle are bathed, decorated with garlands and offered with jaggery, venn pongal, banana, honey and other fruits.
Kaanum Pongal marks the closing of the festivity time, when people hold reunion gatherings and visit each other’s place to meet and exchange pleasantries. Beautiful Kolams are made and gifts are presented to relatives and friends. Married sisters are paid a special visit by their brothers as a token of unconditional love and care.
Pongal 2017 will be celebrated from 14th January to 17th January, 2017.
Places of interest in Tamil Nadu
3. Pancha Rathas
5. Sri Meenakshi Temple
9. Brihadeeshwara Temple
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