Pongal – A Day Of Triumph

Pongal is one of the most important festivals of South India, which marks the celebration of prosperity associated with the harvest. Celebrated in Tamil Nadu as well as by the Tamils in many parts of the globe such as Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia, the festival of Pongal is in practice for around 50 centuries. The celebration of Pongal marks the Salutation and adoration of the supreme power -- the God of Sun, who embarks on a new journey towards the North on this special day, signifying the very auspiciousness of life. To the spiritual aspirants, the beginning of the northwards journey of the Sun God on this particular day has a special significance, as it is believed to have a favorable impact on life and well being.

Although it is predominantly a festival of Tamil Nadu (South India), it has been celebrated by many other provinces in India with different names. In Gujarat and Maharashtra, Pongal is celebrated on the day of "Uttarayan", which is the annual kite flying day. It is known as "Makar Sankranti" in Northern India and "Lohri" in Haryana and Punjab.

The festival is celebrated four days, starting from the last day of Maarghazhi (December - January) to the third day Thai (January – February), which is one of the Tamil months. It usually starts on 12 th of January and continues till 15th of January each year. The first day of Pongal, which is known as Bhogi, is actually celebrated by throwing away the old clothes and unwanted materials and they are set fire. This marks the completion of an old Thai and beginning of new Thai. The second day of Pongal (Veetu Pongal or Sarkarai Pongal) is actually the main day of the festivity. The Tamils start off this very special day with lots of enthusiasm and heart full of joy to celebrate it by making special preparation. They boil rice with fresh milk and jaggery in a new utensil. This special recipe is later topped with raisins, cashew nuts and brown sugar, which give it a special flavor and taste. The third day of Pongal is known as Maattu Pongal, which is a day reserved for offering thanks to the cattle who work with the farmers in the field through out the year. The fourth day Kaanum Pongal marks a fun filled day. People freak out to enjoy the day amidst the expansive beaches and theme parks and chew sugar canes. They decorate their houses by making kolam, which is a creative painting made with the rice dust by the female members of the family.

Pongal is actually the celebration of joy for Tamils – especially the Tamil agriculturists and farmers, who tend to celebrate their boundless joy of getting the fruits of their patience. It is actually a festival where the landlords maintain the tradition of distributes food, clothes and money among their laborers who worked for him all through the year and came up with the bountiful harvest.

So Pongal is actually celebrated to strengthen the laborers – landlord relationship by means of charity and throwing feast to the hard working laborers by the landlords.

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