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Pongal is here! Thai peranthal Vali Perakum

Sheetal Dhamecha
Sheetal Dhamecha

Pongal is the harvest festival celebrated in South India. During the four day festival, people show their gratitude to the Almighty and generosity of the land for the harvest. Tuesday, 15 January shall mark the first day of the festival.  

The festival is to commemorate the season when crops like sugarcane, rice, turmeric etc. are reaped in the farmlands. The God of light - Sun is worshipped for rich agricultural crops.  

Pongal celebrations mark a period of plenty, peace and happiness. There is a Tamil saying that "Thai peranthal Vali Perakum,"which translates that with the dawn of the month of Thai, there will be peace, happiness, prosperity, brightness and harmony in the life of everyone.  

All the four days of Pongal are solemnized differently. 

First day: Bhogi Pongal 

The Bhogi festival is observed to celebrate the existence of Lord Indra, the lord of rain. On this day, bonfire is made from wood and cow dung cakes in which the unused items of the home are burnt. Songs are sung, dances performed praising the Lords. 

Second day: Surya Pongal 

On this day, milk and rice are boiled together in an earthen pot and offered to the Sun by tying a turmeric plant to it. The day honors the sun, Surya. Worshippers also prepare a dish called venpongal which is a combination of rice, dhal and sugar. There is also a dish prepared with dal and jaggery. 

Third day: Maatu Pongal 

Maatu Pongal sees prayers offered to bulls, cows and other farm animals used for agriculture. Farmers bath the cattle, paint the horns, cover them with metal caps and decorate them with multi-colored beads, tinkling beads, flower garlands and bunch of corn around the necks. 

Fourth day: Kaanum Pongal 

The last day of the festival is the occasion for the family members to visit each other and exchange gifts. While younger members play respect and homage to the elder members, the elders show their love and compassion by giving money/gifts to the younger members. All the women of the house assemble in the courtyard and pray for the family’s prosperity, followed by Aarti with turmeric water, rice, vermillion, limestone. 

It’s believed that Pongal brings good wishes, wealth, peace and prosperity. And we hope the same! 

Wishing you a Prosperous Pongal! 

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