By Remitbee - Jan 14, 2022
Pongal is a four-day-long harvest festival celebrated every month of Thai (January to February) by Indians, especially those who live in states of South India such as Tamil Nadu. This 2022 Pongal will be celebrated from Friday, January 14 to Monday, January 17. The Tamil term pongal literally translates to “spilling over” or “boiling” in English and does resemble abundance and prosperity. When this festival is celebrated, crops like rice, sugarcane, and turmeric are harvested.
Pongal is celebrated each year as thanksgiving for the year’s bountiful harvest. Since India’s economy is also dependent on agriculture, Pongal serves as one of the important Hindu festivals. Celebrating Pongal is considered a traditional Hindu system of worshiping the Sun God, Surya (also known as Aditya). This festival is known in other parts of India by different names. Some call it Makar Sankranti, Lohri, Magh Bihu, and Poush Sankranti. Regardless of the term, the essence of this joyous festival is the same.
Aside from the festival, pongal also refers to the sweetened rice dish boiled with lentils. This is one of the unique dishes prepared during Pongal and one you should definitely try.
All of the four days during the Pongal celebration are special. They are celebrated in honour of varying gods in different ways. If this is your first time celebrating or observing Pongal, here’s what you can expect:
The first day of Pongal is called the Bhogi festival celebrated in honor of Lord Indra, the god of rain and lord of lords. During this day, the ritual of Bhogi Mantalu is observed. During this ritual, useless household items are tossed into a bonfire made of cow dung cakes and wood.
This cleaning and throwing of old, useless belongings signify a fresh start. During this day, people also wear new clothes and decorate their houses.
The second day of Pongal is called Thai Pongal and is celebrated to worship the sun god. At the beginning of this day, kolam, a traditional hand-drawn design using lime powder, is drawn at the houses' entrance early in the morning, after someone’s bath.
Women of the household also boil rice and cake together inside an earthen pot where a turmeric plant is tied. This mixture, along with sticks of sugarcane, coconuts, and bananas, is offered to the sun god. When the milk boils over the pot, the family members should shout happily, “Pongalo Pongal!” After offering the food to the sun god, the family would also feast on the several dishes they prepared on that day.
The third day of Pongal is called Mattu Pongal, wherein cattle and cows are revered. These sacred animals are bathed then adorned with bells, garlands, sheaves of corn, colorful flower garlands, beads, and bells during this day. The people also remember cows' hard work, such as ploughing the land. During this day, thanksgiving prayers are also given for the cattle.
For Hindus, cows symbolize Earth, the nourisher and generous, undemanding provider. They also represent life and the sustenance of life and grace and abundance.
The fourth and last day of Pongal is called Kaanum or Kanu Pongal. During the last day of the festival, another ritual is performed by women wherein the leftover sweet Pongal and other foods are laid out in the courtyard on washed turmeric leaf with betel leaves, betel nuts, and sugar cane. They do this to ask for prosperity.
The last day of Pongal is also dedicated to strengthening the ties of the family and community. On the last day of Pongal, families eat a sumptuous meal together. The younger members of the family ask for blessings from the older members.
Another activity not to miss during this day is dancing traditional Indian folk dances, mayilattam or the peacock dance and kolattam or the stick dance.
May the sweetness of milk and sugar cane and the golden rays of the sun make you and your family’s 2022 exceptional and prosperous. RemitBee is happy to form close ties with you, our dear customers, as you enjoy and greatly benefit from the money transfer and currency exchange service we provide. We are looking forward to making you happier this 2022 by giving our best in the fast, secure, and affordable service we provide. Happy Pongal to you and your family!