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Pongal is a four-day festival celebrated with lot of excitement in Tamil Nadu. It is observed in the Tamil month, Thai Masam.  This is not only a festive day, its also another exciting day for us because its my son's birthday too.  

Lets know more about pongal festival before we eat it.....

Pongal is the biggest harvest festival celebrated as thanks giving occasion to the nature. Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal, Kannum Pongal are the four festivals. And this year it falls on Jan 14th,15th,16th and 17th respectively.

Bhogi Pongal :

Bhogi Pongal or Bogi festival is the first day of Pongal celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.Bogi festival is dedicated to Lord Indra, the God of clouds and rains.

On Bhogi Pongal, people clean and white wash their houses. They store unwanted and waste goods for this festival. They Keep their houses attractive and to welcome all Gods they draw beautiful Kolam.In some areas, cow dung balls are also kept on kolams.

In the evening, the main ritual called ‘Bhogi Mantalu’ or the sacred bonfire is performed. The waste material is kept in middle and set fire. In some places, people dance around the Bhogi Mantalu or sacred bonfire.

Surya Pongal :

Surya Pongal is the second day of pongal festival in Tamil Nadu. As the name suggests, the festival is dedicated to Surya or Sun God. Surya Pongal is celebrated as Makar Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and North Indian states. This is also the first day of the Tamil month of Thai masam. Kolam is the main attraction of Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu. Women folk take it as a challenge to decorate their houses with beautiful kolam designs.

Surya Puja is the most important ritual during Surya Pongal festival. Devotees offer naivedyam of milk and jaggery to Lord Surya. Milk is boiled in every house in a clay pot and when the boiled spills out from the pot, children shout out “Pongal – oh – Pongal”. In some places, Pongal (rice recipe) is cooked.

Mattu pongal or Kanuma :

Kanuma festival is the third day of four-day Sankranthi festival celebrated in Andhra Pradesh. Kanuma festival is celebrated as Mattu Pongal in Tamil Nadu.

Mattu Pongal is dedicated to the cattle. Mattu pongal is celebrated on the next day of Pongal to honour bulls which works hard throughout the year. Bulls are given bath, their Horns are painted and decorated.Jallikattu, the ancient and bull taming festival, which is celebrated in some rural districts. In Alanganallur a village about few kilometers from Madurai it is one of the most popular events. This sport is also known as "Manju Virattu", meaning "chasing the bull".

Govardhana Puja or Go puja (worship of cows) is the major ritual during Kanuma. It is believed that Lord Sri Krishna lifted the Govardhana parvatham (Mount Govardhan) to save the farmers and people of Gokulam. Lord krishna’s victory over headstrong Indra is celebrated as kanuma pongal.

Kaanum Pongal or Karinal :

Kaanum Pongal is the final day of Sankranti celebrations.

As the name indicates Kaanum pongal is essentially a day of relaxation. On this day people arrange huge feasts, invite friends and relatives.

In some places, on this day bullock cart races and cock fightings are held. In some rural part of Tamil Nadu, People perform the ritual "Kummippattu". People Mingle freely and this gives opportunities to initiate new relationships.

So coming to the Food part...

Many people they use new vessel for making pongal they decorate with Mineral slaked lime(Sunnam or Sunnambu or Chunna), Kumkum and Chandanam(sandal wood powder)

These are types of pongal they do on Pongal day ...

1. Paal Pongal(Milk pongal with salt)
2. Chakkara Pongal(Sweet Pongal)
3. Kuzhambhu or Pulusu made with all country vegetables which is the best combo with Paal Pongal.

How is Pongal celebrated in India traditionally ?   Pongal is made in clay pot, the whole area is decorated with Rangoli (kolam) etc .  More than to explain,  here is the beautiful celebration you can see virtually.   These pictures are shared by my cousin who celebrated their Pongal in their farm during their recent trip to India.  Thanks soooooo much akka.

Beautiful rustic wall decorated with Kolam 

Whole area is getting ready with lots of kolam decorations...

Pot ready for making Pongal :)

Fire lit up for making pongal

Two pots for making Sweet Pongal(chakarai pongal) and Paal Pongal(milk pongal)

Did you see the milk boils and ready for spilling ...

When the boiled  milk spills out from the pot, everyone shout  “Pongal – oh – Pongal”. And it means abundance of everything ..

Then to this milk rice and jaggery is added for making sweet pongal.  Rice and salt is added for making paal pongal.  Here is how it looks

Chakkara Pongal(Sweet Pongal) - Click here for recipe

Paal Pongal (Milk Pongal) - Click here for recipe

Pongal kulumbu/pulusu or curry made with country vegetables - click here for recipe

The next day is Maattu Pongal .. Wish you all Happy Maattu Pongal too :)

Rathai's recipe  – (January 15, 2012 at 9:44 AM)  

Anaivarukkum en iniya Pongal Nalvaazhthukkal! Stunning pictures.

Madhavi  – (January 15, 2012 at 2:34 PM)  

Great photos..Happy Pongal!!

Sumi  – (January 15, 2012 at 5:47 PM)  

Brought pongal alive through the pictures. :)

Faseela  – (January 15, 2012 at 8:23 PM)  

happy pongal dear......lovely clicks

Hamaree Rasoi  – (January 15, 2012 at 8:35 PM)  

Happy Pongal to you and your family dear. Clicks are wonderful.

Hamaree Rasoi

Vidhya  – (January 15, 2012 at 10:26 PM)  

Happy Pongal and beautiful clicks.

@lekshmi  – (January 15, 2012 at 10:31 PM)  

Nice clicks.......Happy Pongal!!!!!!

Unknown  – (January 16, 2012 at 4:01 AM)  

Beautiful post...happy pongal to u and ur family too!

Priya Suresh  – (January 16, 2012 at 8:25 AM)  

Lovely post with eye pleasing clicks, missing all these festive times here..Happy pongal wishes to u n ur family.

Unknown  – (January 18, 2012 at 2:08 PM)  

oh Pavithra thanks for bring south India live here, you are such a darling! i miss kolam, mango leaves, sugar cane and calf just beautiful ....hope you had a fantastic pongal i start to miss India even more!

Harini  – (February 17, 2012 at 7:12 AM)  

Is this still practised in your native place? Beautiful! I want to visit some places in Tamil Nadu just for seeing all this. Nothing happens in the cities.:(

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