bestowed with the bliss of festivity. A major segment of the
population here depends on agriculture. As a result, most of
the festivals are also related to the agricultural
activities of the people. These festivals are celebrated
with different names and rituals in almost all the parts of
India. Pongal is one of such highly revered festivals
celebrated in Tamil Nadu to mark the harvesting of crops by
farmers. Held in the middle of January, it is the time when
the people get ready to thank God, Earth and their Cattle
for the wonderful harvest and celebrate the occasion with
joyous festivities and rituals.
The four-day Harvest festival is celebrated all over the
state in January. The
begins on the last day of the Tamil month with Bhogi Pongal
followed by Surya
Pongal on the next day. It is on this day that Chakkara
Pongal, a delicacy of harvest rice cooked with jaggery, ghee
and cashew nuts is offered to the Sun God. The third day,
Mattu Pongal is dedicated to the Cattle when cows are bathed
and adomed with colorful beads and flowers. Jallikattu, the
bullfight is held on the last day known as Kannum Pongal.
The first day of the festival is called Bhogi. On Bhogi all
people clean out their homes from all corners, and collect
all unwanted goods. In the evening, people will light
bonfires and burn what can be burnt.
The second day of the festival, Surya Pongal, is the day on
which the celebrations actually begins, is the first day of
the Tamil month Thai. On this day, Surya, the sun God is
worshipped and women will wake early on this day to create
elaborate kolum on the grounds in front of their doorway or
home. Kolums are created with colored rice flour placed on
the ground carefully by using one's hand.
The third day is called Maatu Pongal, maatu meaning cattle.
This day is devoted to paying homage to cattle. Cows and
Bulls are decorated with paint and bells and people pray to
The fourth day is termed as Kaanum Pongal. On this day,
people travel to see other family members.