Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tamilar Tirunaal is known as Pongal Festival...

Indian People celebrate Makar Sankranti festival in different ways in different parts of the country. People hold a belief that sharing of sweets on this auspicious day will fill their lives with sweetness in the year to come. It's the start of a new beginning where everything will be started a new.
Pongal is an ancient festival of people in South India particularly Tamils. The history of the festival can be traced back to the Sangam Age i.e. 200 B.C. To 300 A.D. Although, Pongal originated as a Dravidian Harvest festival and has a mention in Sanskrit Puranas, historians identify the festival with the Thai Un and Thai Niradal which are believed to have been celebrated during the Sangam Age. 
Pongal is one of the major festivals for Hindu devotees in south India. Hindu devotees in the states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh celebrate Pongal as main festival. These states observe holidays for about a fortnight.The festival is celebrated for four days. On, the first day, Bhogi, the old clothes and materials are thrown away and fired, marking the beginning of a new life. The second day, the Pongal day, is celebrated by boiling fresh milk early in the morning and allowing it to boil over the vessel - a tradition that is the literal translation for Pongal. People also prepare savories and sweets, visit each other's homes, and exchange greetings. The third day, Mattu Pongal, is meant to offer thanks to the cows and buffaloes, as they are used to Plough the lands. On the last day, Kanum Pongal, people goes out to a picnic. A festival called Jalli kathu is held in Madurai, Tiruchirapalli and Tanjavur,all in Tamil Nadu, on this day. Bundles of money are tied to the horns of Pongal ferocious bulls which the villagers try to retrieve. Everyone joins in the community meal, at which the food is made of the freshly harvested grain. This day is named and celebrated asTamilian Tirunal in a fitting manner through out Tamil Nadu.

When is Pongal  will be celebrated ?
Pongal is celebrated on the 14th day of January in  Every year. But this coming on  15th January.Thus, the harvest festival of Pongal symbolizes the veneration of the first fruit. The crop is harvested only after a certain time of the year, and cutting the crop before that time is strictly prohibited. Even though Pongal was originally a festival for the farming community, today it is celebrated by all. In south India, all three days of Pongal are considered important. However, those south Indians who have settled in the north usually celebrate only the second day. Coinciding with Makara Sankranti and Lohri of the north, it is also called Pongal Sankranti.
Bhogi, Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kanuma Pongal are the main four days of Pongal festival. Surya Pongal or Pongal is the main festival day. Bhogi is celebrated a day before Pongal. Mattu Pongal is celebrated a day  after Surya Pongal. Kanum pongal is celebrated on the third day of surya pongal.
Pongal celebrations..
Bhogi  celebrations: Pongal festival celebrations begin with Bhogi. On Bhogi all people clean out their homes from top to bottom, and collect all unwanted goods. This day is meant for domestic activities and of being together with the family members.
All the houses from the richest to the humblest are thoroughly scrubbed and whitewashed. Homes are cleaned and decorated with "Kolam" - floor designs drawn in the white paste of newly harvested rice with outlines of red mud. Often pumpkin flowers are set into cow-dung balls and placed among the patterns. Fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane is brought in from the field as preparation for the following day. All the court yards in rural areas are pasted with cow dung.
Pongal/ Surya Pongal celebration: sweet Pongal is the main sweet recipe for this occasion. Sweet pongal is mad of milk, rice and sugar or jiggery. This is shared with relatives and friends.
Mattu Pongal 2015 celebrations:
This day of pongal festival is dedicated for cattle. Cattle are bathed and washed clean and are decorated with flowers.
Kanuma 2015 celebrations: On this day good non vegetarian food is prepared and is shared with friends and relatives. They visit  and greet each other.

Jallikattu :Jallikattu is conducted in Palamedu and Alanganallur in Madurai district during the Pongal festival. Jallikattu is an annual festival in which thousands of men chase the bulls to grab prizes tied to their horns.In 2011, the state government introduced a law to regulate jallikattu to prevent deaths and injuries to spectators during the sport.Every year, dozens of people are injured and some are killed during the festival. Bullfighting is a sacrosanct Indian tradition, mentioned in ancient scriptures.This sport has existed for more than 2,000 years and is an integral part of Tamil culture.
Prepared & Collection by  A.Thaiyuba Ajmal.

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