Across the world, India holds a very prominent territory when there are talks about traditions, cultures, colours and festivals! Whenever it is about meaningful culture, people know that India is just unequalled! And proving them right, India has a wide range of festivals that holds superior meaning in Hindu traditions. “Pongal” also spelt as “Ponkal” is one from the endless list! Today, we will take a look at everything you need to know about Pongal 2022.
Pongal is a widely popular festival in South India, especially amongst Tamilians. Archaeologists and researchers found the first mention of Pongal in an inscription in the Viraraghava temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was inscribed during Chola King Kulottunga 1, where land was granted to the temple to celebrate the annual Pongal festivities. One can also find the mention of Pongal in the 9th century Shiva bhakti text, ‘Tiruvembavai’, by Manikkavachakal.
According to Andrea Gutiérrez, a scholar of Sanskrit and Tamil traditions, the history of any Pongal dish in a festive and religious context can be traced back to the Chola period. Early records mentioned Pongal as Ponakam, Tiruponakam, Ponkal and more similar terms.
MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE:
Pongal means “to boil over or overflow” which is the symbol of prosperity, abundance, happiness, peace, brightness and harmony. Pongal is a Harvest festival, where the worshippers and devotees thank the Sun god for 4 days for blessing them with agricultural abundance. During Pongal, people cook a kheer-like sweet dish out of newly harvested rice, milk and fresh jaggery. They cook the ‘pudding’ until the milk overflows from the pot. As unusual as it may sound, this gesture represents the belief that abundance overflows in the households who overflow the kheer’s milk on Pongal. One can easily observe that it is not just the dish that overflows but also abundance and their beliefs attached to it brings joy too!
Recommended Read: Scientific significance of Pongal
PONGAL 2022 FESTIVAL DATE:
Pongal 2022 in India will begin on Friday, 14 January and will end on Monday, 17 January 2022.
WHY DO WE CELEBRATE PONGAL?
Pongal is dedicated to the Sun god. It occurs simultaneously with Makar Sankranti, the harvest festival. Pongal marks the beginning of Uttrayan, where Sun’s journey begins in the northward direction for six month period. It is an auspicious month, the traditional month for weddings, as the end of harvest season represents the abundance of food!
Also read: 5 traditional Pongal recipes you need to try
4 DAYS OF PONGAL:
1. Bhogi Pongal:
This day is dedicated to ‘Indra Dev’, the god of lightning. On this day, people wake up early and clean their house, bathe, wear traditional sarees and clothes, decorate their home with flowers, beautiful rangolis at the entrance made of colourful rice flour called Kolam. They gather and burn old stuff in a bonfire under the belief that they are going towards new beginnings and happiness.
2. Surya Pongal:
This day is for Surya Dev, god of the Sun. On this day, they cook Pongal (milk pudding) in a clay pot decorated with flower garland or a twig of the turmeric plant. When the Pongal overflows, one or more participants blow a conch called Sanggu. And others scream in joy with “PONGALO PONGAL”. The milk pudding is first offered to Surya Dev and then the animals. Later, it is distributed among people.
3. Mattu Pongal:
This day goes to Lord Shankara’s vehicle ‘Mattu’ (AKA Nandi, the bull). People paint and decorate the horns of their cows and buffaloes with flowers after giving them a holy bath. After this, people worship their cattle and feed them the highest quality of offerings and food.
4. Kaanum Pongal:
This is the last day of the Pongal festivity, where everybody gathers and meet each other in jubilation. People partake in many social and traditional programmes this day and have a great time together.
During Pongal, women doll themselves up with traditional sarees and men with their traditional outfits. It is not only in India where Pongal is popular but also across the world where Tamils reside.
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