Come JANUARY and it is the onset of Festivals and celebration time. With NEW YEAR ringing in, enveloping us in festive mood, Offers a fresh series of FESTIVALS, the first in the offing is PONGAL / SANKRANTHI.
PONGAL is the most popular amongst the Hindu festivals and is a Harvest Festival celebrated for 4 days.
The HARVEST FESTIVAL, SANKRANTHI/PONGAL, is A TRADITIONAL CELEBRATION, TO THANK NATURE IN A THANKS GIVING CEREMONY. Hence it is very popular amongst the AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY.
PONGAL is celebrated from the last day of Tamil month MARGAZHI AND CONTINUES TILL THE THIRD DAY OF THAI MONTH. The 1st day of the festival commences with BHOGI PONGAL.
LORD INDRA, THE GOD OF CLOUDS AND RAINS is worshipped, to seek his blessings for abundance of Harvest and PROSPERITY.
FARMERS worship SUN AND EARTH AND PERFORM POOJA TO THE PLOUGH AND SICKLE. which are used to reap the harvest.
In ANDHRA, BHOGI MANTALU IS OBSERVED, A BONFIRE of firewood and cowdung cakes is made. All the clutter of the house, (old clothes and agricultural wastes) is burnt. The women Folk dance around the bonfire, singing sings in unison.
The main festival is known as SURYA PONGAL AND IS DEDICATED TO THE SUN GOD. It is celebrated on the 1st day of TAMIL MONTH “THAI”. This day is considered very auspicious and is believed that “THAI PIRANDAL VAZHI PIRAKKUM” which literally means a new opportunity is born when Thai is born SUN KOLAMS OR PATTERNS are drawn in the front yards of the houses and SARKARAI PONGAL (SWEET RICE) is cooked on the fire placed on the kolam. Pongal is prepared with the newly cultivated edibles.
The entire household attired in new clothes gathers in the court Yard and cook rice with sugar/jaggery and milk, stirring with sugarcane stalks. When the rice boils, (the boil known as PONGAL, THE OVERFLOW).EVERYONE CHEERS WITH THE WORDS PONGAL O PONGAL, relishing the moment and praying that their lives overflow with abundance joy and prosperity in the same fashion.
In SOUTHERN STATES PONGAL and SANKRANTHI is also celebrated as a FESTIVAL OF RANGOLIS. Huge KOLAMS /MUGGUS are sketched in the yard and coloured with beautiful hues.Gobbillu, Conical shaped cow dung moulds are placed on the colourful Rangolis in odd numbers of 3, 5, 7,9 and are decorated with vermillion and flowers.
SANKRANTHI /PONGAL is also celebrated as KITES FESTIVAL.
The men folk gather on roof tops and engage in KITE FLYING, freckling the vast blue SKY with a variety of kites. The thread guiding the kite is invisible and just the square, rectangle kites scattered all over the sky is a delight to watch.
The 3rd day is dedicated to cattle. (Cows and buffaloes) are worshipped and thanked as they play a vital role in ploughing the fields. They are and pampered and decorated by attiring them in silk clothes and adorned with garlands
The 4th day is KAANUM pongal and this ends the 4 day festival. It is similar to RAKSHA BANDHAN. It encourages family bonding, All the women, offer rice in banana leaves and pray for the well being and prosperity of their brothers and also thank GOD for all the good things that are bestowed on them.
Today Pongal is not only celebrated down SOUTH but is a vibrant festival gaining popularity globally. The dispersal and settlement patterns of south Indians all across the world has led to the popularity of PONGAL. LET US ALL NURTURE THE CULTURAL VALUES, BY FLAMING OUR PAST IN BHOGI, AND INVITE NEW HOPES
IN PONGAL AND CELEBRATE PONGAL/SANKRANTHI BY SHARING AND SPREADING ITS SWEETNESS AMONGST OUR LOVED ONES.
WISH U ALL A VERY HAPPY PONGAL/SANKRANTHI!!