Pongal is a harvest festival – the Tamil equivalent of Thanksgiving. In an agriculture based civilization the harvest plays an important part. The farmer cultivating his land depends on cattle, timely rain and the Sun. Once a year, he expresses his gratitude to these during the harvest festival. With the end of the wet month of Margazhi (mid December to mid January) the new Tamil month of Thai heralds a series of festivals. The first day of this month is a festival day known as “Pongal Day”. Pongal means the “boiling over” of milk and rice during the month of Thai.
The farmer is termed Uttarayanam and the latter is Dakshinayanam. On the first day of the Thai, the Sun leaves the zodiac sign of Sagittarius and enters that of capricorn, the latter is known as Makaram. The event thus is celebrated as Pongal.
The four day celebration of Pongal Marks a period of plenty, peace and happiness. There is a Tamil saying that “Thai peranthal Vali Perakum”. That paraphrased means with the dawn of the month of Thai, there will be peace, happiness, prosperity, brightness and harmony in the life of everyone. It is held to honor the Sun, for a bountiful harvest. Families gathered to rejoice and share their joy and their harvests with others. The Sun is offered a “Pongal” of rice and milk.
Thai Pongal is the first day of Thai month according to Tamil Solar Calendar. Thai is the tenth solar month in Tamil Calendar. Thai Masam is known as Makar in other Hindu calendars. This festival start early and the first thing that is always found in Hindu homes before the start of Pongal is the ‘kolam’. This is a form of decoration for the Hindus’ homes.
Next day of Thai Pongal is known as Mattu Pongal. Cattles are decorated and worshipped on Mattu Pongal day.
The last and final day of Pongal is known as Kaanum Pongal. It is time for family reunions in Tamil Nadu.
Sankranti Moment = 01:35