Pongal Festival of 2024 - a joyous occasion to begin the New year

Happy Pongal, 2024 verywishes.com

 Pongal, a four-day-long harvest festival that falls  in the month of January every year, is a popular one in Tamil Nadu. Other south Indian states also celebrate it as  Sankranti not on a big scale as in  Tamil Nadu.  It is a sort of thanksgiving celebration  dedicated to the Sun, one of Pancha Boothas - five elements  that sustain life on earth. The celebrations also cover various farm animals  that contribute to a bountiful harvest. Pongal is the main dish relished during the festival.  In the state of Kerala it is called 'Pongala' meaning  'to boil over' symbolising the abundance and prosperity associated with the harvest season. .

Pongal preparation, en.wikipedia.org

Pongal 2024.mpanchang.com

Like Tamil Nadu, in Kerala it is a  ritualistic offering of Pongal -porridge made of  cooked rice, sweet brown country sugar (Nattu chakkarai), coconut gratings, nuts and raisins mostly prepared in earthen pots. Women play a vital role in this time-honored  ritual that has been around for centuries. Across Tamil Nadu it is more widely celebrated in the rural areas than in the urban spaces.  

Also called “Thai Thirunal,”   it marks the beginning of  “the harvest season with the riot of colours, plenty of paddy, sugarcane and other grains in the agricultural belts.. 

The festival begins with Bhogi Pongal, which involves cleaning of homes- symbolic of cleansing the mind as well as living space.Thai Pongal is the main festival and the Pongal dish is eaten by the family members after pujas and dedication to the God. This is followed by  Mattu Pongal dedicated to farm animals - bulls and cows. Special pujas are offered to the decorated animals by women in the rural areas.  The festival culminates with Kaanum Pongal and it is aimed at the peace and welfare of the family and improving the bond among the relatives.  

Across india similar festivals are called  Makar Sankranti, celebrated at the beginning of the harvest season annually on January 14, Lohri, celebrated a night before Makar Sankranti, and Bihu, neld  in connection to the harvest season. Pongal festival is  a joyous occasion for the Tamil community to begin the new year on a positive note.