Pongal? How is it celebrated? History and Story behind.

Pongal which is also known as Makar Sankranti is a famous festival that is celebrated across the Indian subcontinent, it is usually celebrated on 14 or 15 January every year. Pongal is a harvest festival, this festival is celebrated in India with different names such as Pongal in Tamil Naidu, Uttarayana in Gujrat, Bhogali Bihu in Assam, and Makara Villaku in Kerela.

Pongal is traditionally a festival dedicated to prosperity in which rain, sun, and agricultural cattle are worshipped to bring prosperity. Pongal festival is celebrated for the entire 4 days in India and every single day has its significance.

Nature is always worshipped in India as the invisible forces that determine the supply of food for the people and also control their lifestyles. Sun and Rain have always been considered as gods and people believed that worshipping them would improve their crops and thus they devoted their 4 days to thank nature and they decided to celebrate these 4 days in the form of a festival.

The first day of Pongal is dedicated to Lord Indra, the king of Heaven, and this day is known as BHOGI Pongal. On this day people clean their houses in the evening and after taking a bath they wear new clothes and they bring old khadi clothes and unwanted items from their house and gather them in one place and after collecting all the items they burn it, then from children to elders, people sing and dance around this fire and enjoy this festival to the fullest, young people bring BHOGI KOTTAM which is a type of drum instrument and they enjoy while playing the drum throughout the night.

bhogi pongal

The second day of Pongal is dedicated to Lord Sun or Surya and this day is also known as SURYA PONGAL. On this special day a special type of kheer is made which is known as PONGALO PONGAL after this dish is ready people takes a special bath and offer special prayers to Lord Surya and at the end, they offer Prasad to Lord Surya in the form of PONGALO PONGAL and sugarcane.

suriya pongal

The third day of Pongal is known as MATTU PONGAL. On this day farmers bathe their bulls along with cows and calves, then after bathing, they apply oil in their horns and with different flowers, they decorate their bulls and cows. This day has great significance in our mythology. According to Tamil beliefs Mattoo was the bull of Lord Shiva Shankar, according to our beliefs Lord Shankar has sent his bullock Mattoo, whose second name was Basava, to the earth and told him that he should deliver a message to the people of the earth that and let mankind learns that humans must massage oil before bathing every day and human being must consume food once in a month but Mattoo understood this message in an opposite way, He came to earth and taught humans that Human being should eat everyday and massage oil on their body once in a month, this led Lord Shiva angry and he sent his bull Mattoo permanently on earth so that he could help human being in their fields to grow crops so that human being should survive, This is the reason that human being worships his bulls on this very day, many villages of South India organise a sports events like JALLIKATTU and REKLA where the running competitions of bulls takes place , but at present times in south India many villages have banned this sports .

mattu pongal

The last and fourth day of Pongal is known as KANYA PONGAL and KANNUM PONGAL. On this day people decorate their houses and the women of the house make Torans on the door with mango Pallavas and coconut leaves, and on the main entrance of the house, a very beautiful Rangoli is made, children fly colorful kites in the sky, people wear new clothes and enjoy kite flying.

In India, every festival is associated with some other deity, but Pongal is the only festival that is associated with nature. The biggest lesson we get from this festival is that we have no existence without nature, whether it is Sun, Moon, Rain, Wind or Animal all these are very essential for our life, and our life is dependent on them and it is our most important duty to protect these natural resources and keep them clean.

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