Why is Pongal Festival celebrated?

Pongal festival is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu that falls in the month of Thai (January-February season). The uniqueness of the festival reminds us of the importance of natural resources, especially when the entire world is battling environmental change.
Jan 14, 2020 11:15 IST
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Why Pongal Festival is celebrated?
Why Pongal Festival is celebrated?

Indian is a land of festivals. Every festival is celebrated with enthusiasm. It also represents our culture. Among other festivals, Pongal is also one of them. Why is the Pongal festival celebrated, how is it celebrated, what is its significance? Let us find out!

What is Pongal festival?

The term 'Pongal' is derived from the Tamil literature which means 'to boil'. It is an ancient festival of South India, particularly Tamils. It is basically a harvest festival which is celebrated for four-day-long in Tamil Nadu in the month of January-February (Thai) during the solar equinox after harvesting of crops like rice, sugarcane, turmeric, etc.

Pongal festival is a four-day celebration affair. Each day marked by different festivities- First day is called the Bhogi festival; Second day is called Thai Pongal; the Third day is called Mattu Pongal; the Fourth day is called Kaanum Pongal.


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History of the Pongal Festival

The history of the festival can be traced back to the Sangam Age and considered as the ‘Dravidian Harvest festival’. But some of the historians claim that this festival is dated back at least 2,000 years old. It was celebrated as Thai Niradal.

According to the legends, during this festive season unmarried girls prayed for agricultural prosperity of the country and for this purpose, they observed penance during the Tamil month of Margazhi.  They abstained from the consumption of milk and milk products, didn't oil their hair throughout the month. The use of harsh words is strictly refrained by them. Ceremonial bath in the early morning as part of the ritual of the penance.

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Why is Pongal celebrated?

According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Shiva once asked Basava (Bull) to visit on the Earth and ask the Human to have an oil massage and bath every day. But Basava (Bull) announced that eat daily and have an oil bath once in a month. This makes the Lord Shiva furious and he cursed the Basava (Bull) to live on the Earth forever and said that Basava (Bull) has to plough the fields and help people produce more food. Hence, people after harvesting celebrate this festival with crops and cattle.

Importance of the Pongal

It is basically a harvesting festival or it can be considered as the 'thanksgiving' festival' because this festival is celebrated to thank the Sun God and Lord Indra for helping farmers in getting better-yielding crops. During the festival, people reject old belongings and welcome new stuff.

Significance of the Pongal

As we know that India is an agricultural country and the majority of the festivals are inclined towards nature. Just like another festival, the Pongal is referred to as Uttarayan Punyakalam which bears special significance in Hindu mythology and is considered extremely auspicious.

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