India is an agricultural land and there is a prevalence of many harvest related festivals that are celebrated in various regions throughout the country. Most of these are a way to thank the deities for providing them with bountiful produce. Pongal is a four day long festival celebrated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu to thank the Gods for being generous in showering their blessings.
It is celebrated in the month of January, when harvesting of rice, cereals, sugarcane and turmeric takes place. Pongal is usually celebrated with great gaiety and fervour on either the 14th or 15th of January. Since harvest time is supposed to bring wealth and happiness, this time is also considered quite auspicious for weddings. Many nuptials take place around this time, multiplying the happiness associated with the festival.
The 1st day of Pongal is celebrated to honour and offer homage to Lord Indra or the rain god. People thank him for his blessings which resulted in an abundant crop. Another ritual associated is the burning of unnecessary household items in a bonfire. People sing and dance around the bonfire, keeping themselves warm while singing praises to the lord.
This day is celebrated by a customary offering to the sun god of the traditional prasad of rice in boiled milk. The two are boiled together in an earthenware pot to which turmeric plant is tied. Coconut, banana and sugarcane are also offered. ‘Kolam’ forms an integral part of the festivities. It is a traditional drawing made early morning after bathing using lime powder at the entrance.
The 3rd day of the festival is dedicated to cows. They are adorned with bells, flower garlands, corn sheaves, and coloured beads. The holy animals are worshipped and fed pongal. The festival celebrates the hard work and toiling that the animals do for a plentiful crop.
This marks the last day of celebration. Women of the household place food and sweets on turmeric leaves in the courtyard and pray for the well-being and prosperity of their brothers.
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Article Title: An Essay on Pongal Festival for Kids, Children and Students
Article last re-published on February 27, 2017. Original.