February 13, 2012

தமிழர் திருநாள் - பொங்கல்

 Pongal - Festival of Tamilians
    • Pongal is “Thanksgiving” for the plentiful harvest received and it falls in the month of January. It is an ancient festival of people in South India particularly Tamils. So it’s called “Tamilian Tirunal” (meaning “the festival of Tamils”)
    • Pongal is traditionally dedicated to the Sun God Surya. The sun is very powerful and helps in the growth of the paddy and other plantations. The house is cleaned, and all maintenance jobs are done before this festival.

    • “Thai” refers to the name of the tenth month in the Tamil calender. The famous quote for the Pongal festival is “Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum” meaning “The commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities”. Pongal means “Boiling over” or “Spill over”. 
    • Pongal is celebrated as four festivals in four consecutive days in that week. ‘Bogi’ is celebrated on January 13, ‘Pongal’ on Jan 14, ‘Maattuppongal’ on Jan 15, and ‘Thiruvalluvar Day’ or ‘Kannum Pongal’ on Jan 16.

    • The first day of this festival is dedicated to the worship of the rain God Indra.
    • Before sunrise, dispose old and useless things from our house and replace with new ones. The house is cleaned, painted and decorated to give a festive look. During the festival, families gather to feast and dance.
      • The following recipes are prepared on this day
        • Poli (Ubbattu)
        • Ven Pongal
        • Pakoda (mostly plain for offering to god)
        • Eggplant Gotsu
        • Pal Payasam (Kheer)
        • The Second day of this festival is called Surya Pongal is devoted to Surya, the Sun God.
        • It is celebrated in an open space when the sun arrives by boiling rice with fresh milk and jaggery in new clay pots and allows it to boil over the pot. While bubbles out of the vessel, the people will shout "Pongalo Pongal" and blow the sanggu (a conch).
        • The word 'Ponga' means 'to boil' representing plentiful and excess yield, a special dish is cooked on this day in a new mud-pot that comes in innovative shapes and have artistic designs on them called 'Pongapani'.

        • The following recipes are prepared on this day 
          • Sakkarai Pongal 
          • Medhu Vadai 
          • Idli 
          • Coconut Chutney 
          • Aviyal
        Mattu Pongal:
        • The third day is meant to offer thanks to the cows and buffaloes, paint their horns and cover them with shining metal caps, as they are used to plough the lands.
        • The day is marked by the worship of the Goddess Parvati and her son, the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha.

          • Cattle races are conducted and in the game called “Manji Virattu” groups of young men chase running bulls. Bull fights called “Jallikattu” are also arranged at some places where young men have to take the money bags tied to the horns of ferocious bulls single-handedly and without the use of arms.

          • Varieties of rices are prepared on this day.
            • Kadambam Rice
            • Lemon Rice (elumitcham pazha sadam)
            • Tamarind Rice (puliyodharai)
            • Coconut Rice
            • Rava Pongal
            • Akkaravadisal
           Kanum Pongal:
            • On the last day, people visit each other and have lunch with friends and family to enjoy the festive season for exchanging pleasantries and greetings. On this day there are folk dance performances accompanied by music and song. In short it’s a picnic day!
            • People chew sugar cane and decorate their houses with kolam (Rangoli). 
            • Another thing many do is leave food out on banana leaves for birds to take. Many South Indian people will take the first bit of rice cooked in any given day and set it outside for the crows to take
              • The festival of Pongal is observed in different regions, under different names with different rituals in different parts of India. 
              Other Names of Pongal
              • Makar Sankranti
              • Kanumu
              • Lohri
              • Bihu / Bohaggiyo Bhishu
              • Bhogi
              • Poki festival
              • Hadaga Festival

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