Monday, 13 January 2014

Pongal and the celebrations of India

Pongal is a festival which falls in mid January celebrated by Tamil peoples all over the world. We(Tamil people) celebrate Pongal to show our gratitude to the Nature for being an essential source of agriculture.

Usually the celebrations are for four days Bohi, Pongal, Maatu pongal, and Kaanum pongal

On Bohi we discard old things and focus on new things by cleaning and decorating our house. 

The second day is the main day of the festival we prepare Pongal(the dish) and we keep it in front of the Sun during sunrise to show our gratitude and then we share the dish with neighbors and relations. This day coincides with Makara Sankranthi which is a winter harvest festival celebrated throughout India. The day marks the start of sun’s six-month long journey northwards.

The third day is Maatu pongal. Maatu is the Tamil word for cow, on this day we show out gratitude to the cattle by worshiping it. Cattle helps us throughout the harvesting process and gives us the dairy products. To rejuvenate the cattle we clean it and we feed pongal to it and then we will play with it.

The last and fourth day is Kaanum pongal this is the day to thank our friends and relatives. To show our gratitude to them we share gifts, pongal dish, sugarcane and dresses. During Kaanum Pongal people visit relatives and friends to enjoy the festive season. In the cities this day is synonymous with people flocking to beaches and theme parks to have a day out with their families.

Jallikattu is a sport played with specially trained bulls as a part of Pongal celebrations. The trained young guys will play with specially trained bulls. Bull fighting was has been common among the ancient tribes who lived in the ‘Mullai’ geographical division of Tamil Nadu. In olden days the game was used by women to choose their husbands. Successful "matadors" were chosen as grooms. Nowadays we see it as a sport of bravery.

The Inscription of Jallikattu

Salem Government museum
 jallikattu at AlanganallurMadurai.

Pongal is celebrated by Tamil people and other Indian people also celebrate these days but in different names and they follow different procedures to celebrate.

Some of those are,
  • Tamil Nadu - celebrated as Thai Pongal
  • Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Kerala, Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh - celebrated as Makara Sankranthi
  • Gujarat and Rajasthan celebrated as Uttarayana
  • Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab - celebrated as Lohri
  • Assam - celebrated as Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu
  • Nepal - celebrated as Maghe Sankranti or Makar Sankranti
Most of the Indian festivals are celebrated based on the dates in ancient Indian calender. Google it you can find many interesting things.

What ever the names and procedures be lets celebrate together...!!!

Image source - Google & Wikipedia.

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