Pongal is celebrated in the southern part of India but mainly by people of Tamil Nadu. It is a festival of harvesting for Tamils. Pongal is celebrated to pay a tribute to Sun, for abundant crop yield. It is a festival of thanksgiving to the sun and farm animals for the high yield of crops. This festival of Pongal is celebrated for four days in Tamil Nadu. The first day is Bhogi that is celebrated by removing all the old garments and materials by setting them on fire as it marks the ending of the previous and beginning of the new.
According to Hindu myths this is a festival of harvest celebrated mostly in south India and is celebrated for three days. A large number of traditions and customs are associated with this festival of Pongal. Special prayers are performed on Bhogi, the first day of Pongal just before the cutting the paddy crop. Farmers worship Sun and earth as they help them to produce high yields of crop. Ploughs and sickles are smeared with the paste of sandal wood as these tools help them to cut newly harvested rice.
According to a myth, once Lord Shiva requested his bull, Basava, to visit earth and request people to eat once a month, have an oil massage and bath every day. Accidentally, Basava declared that people should have an oil bath once a month and they should eat daily. This mistake of Basava made Shiva angry and he cursed Basava, expelling him to live on the earth. He would plough fields on earth and help people to create more food.
Pongal is celebrated for four days and Bhogi is the first day and is devoted as a day for the family. On Surya Pongal, the second day people worship the Sun God. Pongal dish is cooked on this day for which new rice along with milk and jaggery is boiled and made to fall to make a offering to Sun God. Maattu Pongal is the third day of Pongal celebrations and people worship farm animals like cattle on this day. The animals are decorated and offered with Pongal dish on this day. Kaanum Pongal is the final day of Pongal celebrations and people visit their near and dear ones on this day.
Send Pongal cards to your friends and relatives and wish them on this auspicious occasion.