Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pongal- Thamizhar Thirunal

Marking the end of Winter, Pongal signifies the start of Summer. It is celebrated for four days as a way of expressing gratitude to Nature. In a way, Pongal is the Indian Thanksgiving. Each of the 4 days is devoted to a different element of nature - on the 1st day Bhogi, the prayers are offered to Fire. On the 2nd day, the important element of nature, the Sun is worshiped. Farmers decorate and worship Cattle on the 3rd day. 4th day (Kaanum Pongal) is meant for Families to reunite and spend the day together.

Here are some of the traditions/customs followed during this festival!

-Cleaning the household: The first thing people do before this festival is cleaning their households. They discard clothes, utensils and other unnecessary household items. The idea behind this is to start new and fresh.

-Food: During Pongal, families gather to make the most delicious Pongal. The most authentic way to make Pongal is on a fire hearth using a clay pot, water, rice, sugar and other main ingredients. It is served on a banana leaf.

-Sugarcane: Another important custom during Pongal is eating sugarcane.

-Decorations: Families decorate the house with flowers, sugarcane and kolam before this festival. Kolam, which is made from rice powder, is a traditional decoration of South Indian homes.

-Gifts: Exchanging of gifts between family, friends and relatives is another custom.

Here are some of the Traditional outfits worn during Pongal.

-Men – Dhoti, an Indian traditional outfit especially worn by men on auspicious occasions and festivals. Apart from this Kurtas are also preferred by men. Elderly people go for angavastram.

-Women – Silk sarees, cotton sarees, and silk cotton are the most preferred by women. The young girls and women wear a lehanga and half sari respectively.

-Kids: For girls pattu pavadai is the attire and ethnic kurtas for boys.

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We wish you a prosperous and happy Pongal.