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Pongal is a widely celebrated Hindu festival among the Tamil community. It is a four day Hindu harvest festival. Pongal is celebrated in great grandeur in Tamil Nadu and some parts of Kerala. Pongal is a cultural, religious, and social festival hosted as a thanksgiving to the God of Sun and the elements of nature for supporting agriculture. Read this article till the end to know more about the date, history and significance of Pongal.
Pongal marks the beginning of the sun’s northward journey, Uttarayan, for the coming six months. It is usually observed at the beginning of the tenth month, Thai according to the Tamil calendar. The celebrations for Pongal 2022 will commence from 14 January till 17 January.
Pongal 2023 – Date
Pongal is a grand festival celebrated for four consecutive days from 14 January to 17 January. Each day has a special name and significance. The Pongal days and the dates on which they are celebrated are given in the table below.
|Bhogi Pongal/Thai Pongal||14 January 2023|
|Surya Pongal||15 January 2023|
|Mattu Pongal||16 January 2023|
|Kaanum Pongal||17 January 2023|
Pongal is dedicated to the Hindu God of Sun which matches with the harvest festival, Makar Sankranti.
Pongal 2023 – History
The celebration of Pongal revolves around two major stories.
Once, Lord Shiva had asked his bull, Basava, to travel around the world to inform people to eat once a month and have a bath and oil massage every day. Basava communicated the exact opposite of what he was told. He told people to eat every day and bathe once a month.
This eventually, angered Lord Shiva to the extent that he ordered Basava to go into exile. Basava was made to assist people while ploughing. This is the reason why cattle are linked with the Pongal harvest.
There is also another story to it. According to some people, Lord Krishna ordered the people of Gokul to stop worshipping Lord Indra as he was filled with pride and arrogance. This infuriated Lord Indra. As a result, Lord Indra caused thunderstorms and flooding. To protect the people, Lord Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan on his little finger sheltering them. Lord Indra then, realised his mistakes and asked for Lord Krishna to forgive him.
Pongal 2023 – Significance
The Pongal harvest festival is all about letting go of the past and starting new all over again, welcoming new things. Households don a festive look, people also dress up in brand new clothes and buy new vessels. Traditional delicacies are an eminent part of the festivities. Special food items like pongal, medu vada,rasam, avial, beetroot pachadi, moong dal payasam and sakkarai pongal are also prepared during the four days of Pongal. Pongal, also known as Thai Pongal is a four-day festivity as discussed below:
- Bhogi Pongal: The first day of the four-day harvest festivity is Bhogi Pongal. This day marks the last day of Marghazi, Tamil month. It is celebrated by people together by lighting bonfires and burning discarded or unwanted items of the house.
- Surya Pongal: The second day is the day of Surya Pongal. It is dedicated to the Lord of Sun or Surya Dev. People show gratitude to him for providing a good harvest and seek blessings for happiness and prosperity. On this day, the houses are decorated with mango and banana leaves.
- Mattu Pongal: The third day is Mattu Pongal. Mattu means cattle, cow or bullock. This day the people celebrate cattle as they provide milk and dairy products, fertilizers and agriculture support. The cows are worshipped by people, like gods. They bathe the cattle, feed them well and also decorate the cow’s horns with garlands and flowers.
- Kanum Pongal: The fourth and last day is Kanum Pongal. This day is for strengthening the bond between people. A lot of people come together and celebrate this auspicious day.