Pongal can be dated back to the times of Sangam Age and known as the ‘Dravidian Harvest festival’.
- Pongal is a very old festival that is celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu. There are no such evidences that tell since when is the festival of Pongal being celebrated but history gives a clue that this festival of Pongal is celebrated since the Sangam age. The name Pongal is associated with a traditional dish Pongal that is well known across the world and this dish is also cooked on the second day of Pongal festival.
- In the Tamil month, Margazhi during the Sangam period several atonements were being practiced by the maidens. They avoided products of milk and milk, did not oil their hair, avoided use of harsh language and took bath early in the morning.
- Figures of Goddess Katyayani were worshiped that were formed out of sand. The atonement practices came to an end on the first day of Thai month. The reason behind these practices was to bring agricultural richness for the country.
- The Chola king Kiluttunga used to present lands to temples especially on the occasion of Pongal, according to a writing found in the Veeraraghava temple at Tiruvallur.
- 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.
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