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Pongal celebration in Tamil Nadu

Pongal Celebrations

Pongal Celebration

Story Behind the types of Pongal……..

Pongal festival is also known as “Thai Pongal” celebrated on the first day of the month “Thai” in Tamil calendar. Hence got the name “Thai Pongal”.  On this day all the people in and around Tamil Nadu will pray to the God “Suriya Bhagavan (Sun)” by cooking “Pongal”, a sweet dish made with rice and jaggery in earthen pot vessels in front of the house with turmeric seedling wrapped around the vessel. The festival is celebrated to wish for a happy and prosperous life throughout the year, as the Tamil year starts in the month of “Thai”. Farmers celebrate this day as an auspicious day, as they will pray to the sun (Suriya Bhagavan) to grant a high yield in their cultivation.

The day before Pongal the Pongal festival is called “Boghi”, on which all people will wake up before sunrise to burn all their old things in front of the house, which symbolizes the destruction of old things and thoughts, to welcome new happenings in the year. The actual meaning behind the tradition is, by removing all old items we’re welcoming new things to enter into our lives and burning the same symbolizes that we’re burning our sorrow and unhappy feelings into flames to welcome wealth and happiness.

Jallikattu during Pongal


The  day after the Pongal festival is called “Mattu Pongal”, which is celebrated to express the thankfulness to cattle, that were helpful in providing Milk and labor for ploughing. On the same day bulls will be tamed by the youth in order to express their manliness and bravery which is called “Jallikattu”.

The second day after Pongal festival is called “Kannum Pongal”, on this day all the working people will take a day off to enjoy the carnival that will be put out around the villages and towns.

This festival is celebrated for a period of four days. People pray for a good harvest in the coming years and to thank sun, land, water and the animals for helping the humans lead a prosperous life.

Cattle will be decorated and worshipped

Key features about the Pongal festival are the sweet dish Pongal, Freshly grown raw sugarcane, thanking the natural resources given by God for the well-being of humans and welcoming a new year for a happy and prosperous life.

My experience during the Pongal Celebration

At this time I take my pleasure in sharing my experiences during this festival.

On the day of Pogi pongal, I  eagerly wake up early filled with excitement and gather around with my friends in front of my house. Then we all will bring the unwanted item from the respective homes and we’ll throw it into the fire. In the evening we will start to draw big rangoli in front of the house. After finishing we’ll roam around the streets eager to know how others have drawn the Rangoli.


The next day morning, which is the day of Pongal festival, we will taste the freshly grown raw sugarcane with sweet pongal in my farm land. It is very unusual that the same dish will not taste as good on any other day. I think it’s because of the happiness that surrounds and makes us to feel that. And every dish when you cook them in earthen vessel will give you a unique taste. The earthen vessel will be heated with the fire wood picked up from our farm land, in the very early morning.  All the vegetables that are grown fresh will be served on the banyan leaf in front of Pooja place and the prayers will start. The dishes will be served first to deities and family members.

Rangoli is a Part of Pongal

After serving to the deities, it will be distributed to those coming in front of our farm house. After that we all will wait with banyan leaf holding tightly in our hands for mother to serve hot and sweet Pongal additionally with banana-pieces and coconut. I will assure you that nothing in the star hotels matches that taste. And those times you cannot catch again in your life.


Then we will take the raw sugarcane and we’ll decorate it as a thoranam (hanging decoration) in the entrance.

Next day again the big rangoli color will be drawn and the cattles horn also will be painted. In the place of cow shed the pongal will be prepared in the same way as thai pongal. First the pongal will be served to the cattle. then it will come to us.

Wherever you can see the Hindu-Tamilian families, you can see the big –color rangoli and sugar cane. In rural side, for this festival houses will be painted.

On the day of Maatu pongal, bull fighting will be arranged. This is a Dravidian traditional game to judge a brave of young man.  The person who controls the Buffalo will win the game and get a bride.

On the day of maatu pongal, the entire family will be visiting around new places and enjoy the whole day with relatives and friends with lots of fun and joy.

Pongal Sale at full zoom

Each day the special food and pongal will be shared between the relatives and friends. Also, everyone will exchange their greetings and gifts.

Come and experience the warmth and ethnic flavor of this festival in Tamil Nadu in the month of January.

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