Pongal, the harvest festival, marks a new beginning in the South Indian Tamil calendar.
The time of the year when the fresh soft cooking rice crop is milled and the field fresh root vegetables flood the markets. it is the season when the medicinal turmeric tubers colour the town with a yellow hue. For the sweet offering, there is plenty of mature juicy sugar cane. The mild breeze and the calm sun of January giving hope to a better life this year.
With the beginning of the auspicious “Thai” Masam, the four day festival of a thanksgiving nature begins. The month begins with the movement of the sun towards the north, Uttarayanam, mythologically signifying the awakening of the Gods. A perfect time to have the harvest festival. Pongal- signifies “the rising” of the grains being cooked. With all the concerns set aside, festivities are in full swing. This is the best time to travel to Tamilnadu, India. the weather is calm and pleasant and the towns and rural areas decorated. head off to the villages and experience every household laying out their courtyard open with beautiful kolam decorations.
Day 1- Bhogi Pongal
The farmer has a good crop and the offering to the sun god who has blessed the bounty begins with cleaning of the fields, houses. The houses adorned with rice paste and with buntings of young coconut leaf crafts, mango leaves, neem and turmeric leaves are in plenty. With the last of the agricultural wastes burned as a bonfire to warm up against the January chill, Bhogi Pongal is a day of thanks to the Rain God- Indra.
Day 2- Thai Pongal
The open fire set ready with newly cured mud pots are a typical scene when it comes to Pongal.Laced with creative rice paste decoration ( kolam) all along the courtyard the whole household gathers to watch the fresh harvest offerings to be prepared. The cuisine is simple country style heavenly healthy and sumptuous are both sweet and savoury. offered to the Sun-god seeking blessings for an abundant upcoming year.
Day 3 Maatu Pongal
The farmers most reliable friend the cattle is worshipped on maatu Pongal. The relationship between man and his useful beast began from the time the mythological Basava was banished from heaven and ordered to help humans create an abundance of food to feed their hungry stomachs. the toiling beasts are beautifully decorated with new bells and painted horns and treated with sugarcane and soft cooked rice.
Day 4 – Kanu Pongal
The last day of the festivities begins early, with the women offering the leftover Pongal varieties on a clean turmeric leaf with the traditional betel leaf offerings. The song
“Kaka pidi vechen
kanu pidi vechen…..” wishing for the inlaws house and your parent’s house to be blessed with a bounty.
Here are characteristic preparations made during this celebration. Try out these traditional elements along with the happy joyous voices of “Pongal O Pongal… “
“Thai pirandal vazhi pirakkum“
When the time is right there will always be a solution… it is the best hope for a great new auspicious year.
Greetings to a great Pongal to all my readers.
The pic credits of this post go to @sashivm. Thank you for being a sweetheart sharing your personal copies.