Pongal 2022: Date, history, significance, and celebrations

By Tasso Konia
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During the four-day harvest festival observed in South India, particularly Tamil Nadu, from January 14-17, Pongal 2022 will be celebrated with a lot of zeal and passion. Every year, it is celebrated around the middle of January to mark the beginning of Uttarayan, the sun's voyage towards the north, as well as the conclusion of the winter season. Pongal is celebrated at the same time as other harvest festivals in India, such as Makar Sankranti, Lohri, and Magh Bihu, and takes place in the month of October.

The importance of Pongal and the ceremonies around it

When the new crop of rice, sugarcane, and turmeric from the fields are brought to the temple, the celebrations begin on the first day, known as Bhogi Pongal. During the rite of Bhogi Mantalu (also known as "new beginnings"), old and unnecessary household items are thrown away and burned with cow dung as a symbol of the beginning of a new beginning.

The second day of the festival, also known as Surya Pongal or Thai Pongal, is devoted to the Sun God, and it also happens to be the first day of the Tamil month Thai, which is celebrated on the second day of the festival. Today is a day when ladies get up early in the morning to clean their homes and decorate them with beautiful kolam patterns. Freshly harvested rice is cooked in pots with milk and jaggery till the pots overflow and spill all over the place on this particular day. A traditional Pongal ritual, which means "to boil or overflow," reflects the essence of the name Pongal. This dessert is brought to the Sun God before it is served to the rest of the family members on banana leaves.

The third day of Pongal is known as Mattu Pongal, and it is the day on which Lord Ganesha and Parvati are worshipped and Pongal is served to both of them. Because the term mattu signifies bull in Sanskrit, livestock is cleansed and their horns are painted before being topped with gleaming metal crowns on this day. In addition, floral garlands and bells are hung from the ceiling.

It is also known as Kaanum Pongal, and it is the fourth and last day of Pongal. It is also regarded as an auspicious day for beginning new alliances and partnerships.

Pongal's illustrious past

Pongal celebrations are said to have originated during the Sangam period (200BC-200AD) and to have been mentioned in Puranas. A tale related to Pongal states that Lord Shiva had a bull named Basava who he dispatched to earth to disseminate the word that mankind should take oil massages and baths every day and eat only once a month in order to be healthy. As an alternative, Basava advised humans to do the exact opposite: eat every day while taking an oil bath once a month. Basava was punished by Lord Shiva and assigned to earth to assist people by plowing their fields and providing them with their daily food necessities. Cattle became connected with Pongal as a result of this association.


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