Paragraph on Pongal (621 Words)

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A major harvest festival is Pongal in the southern states. In this big event, cattle are gaily decorated and feed on ‘Pongal’, a sweet preparation of rice, as a symbolic gesture of veneration.


Pongal falls in the month of January commencing from the last day of the Tamil month Margazhi.

The sun, the earth and the cattle are worshipped by farmers as thanks giving for a bounteous harvest.

Pongal is celebrated on the first day of Tai (mid January). This is also known Taippongal or Makara Sankranti day.

Bhogi Pandigai precedes Pongal/Taippongal Sankranti. The term ‘Bhogi Pandigai’ means “the festival of physical enjoyment”. On this day, Tamilians cleanse their houses and are beautified by kolams, etc. prior to the festival Taippongal. Bhogi Pandigai feast is observed at the end of Dakshinayana (Southern movement of the Sun), and is the last day of the month of Margali. Just before the dawn dirty and rubbish accumulations in the houses are collected and burnt for the Pongal celebration.


On Pongal day, people flock in thousands to bathe in the sacred waters of the river Kaveri at Tiruvaiyaru in the Tanjavur district and the river Tamraparni at Papanasam in the Tirunelveli district. A sea bath at Vedaranam is also considered highly beneficial. Thus, a holy bath is prescribed on this auscipicious day.

During Pongal, the homes are cleaned and adorned with geometrical pat­tern drawn with rice powder. The word Pongal means boiling. On this day, Tamils, great one another by the question, “Is it boiling?” in their language. What is made to boil is some rice in sweetened milk, preferably in a new pot. It is believed that the quality of the year ahead will depend on the length of time it takes for the concoction to be brought to a boil.

The shorter the time, the more plentiful the year to come. When the water for the cooking the food gets boiled, women engaged in it shout ‘pongalo pongal’ many a time with rejoice. On Pongal day, newly married couple are presented with new clothes from the bride’s side and some present new clothes to the servents too.

In Tamilagam, the word ‘madu’ denotes cattle as well as wealth. From olden days, cattle formed the chief wealth of the people. Even today, for farmers, they are the chief asset. So, to recognise their services, on ‘Mattuppongal’ day, cows and bulls are worshipped. This occurs the day next to Pongal. All cattle sheds are cleansed well and pongal in performed there.

All the catties are decorated with garlands and festoons made of palmyra tender leaves and assembled together to be led in procession through all the streets of the village accompanied by trumpets and bugles.

Throughout Tamil Nadu, both Pongal and Mattupongal are performed under the name ‘Tamilar Tirunal’. Country cart races are held during the festival.

In short, on the first day of the festival, the sun is worshipped signifying its movements from cancer to capricon. On the next day, Mattu Pongal, cows and bullocks, so essential to the rural world, become a part of a thanks giving ceremo­ny. They are fed on freshly harvested rice. In Karnataka the festival is called ‘Sankranti’ cows and bullocks are well decorated and painted and fed on ‘Pongal’ a sweet preparation of rice.

In the evening the cattle in each village are led out in procession to the beat of drums and music. In some towns in the south, the festival is climaxed by a kind of bull-fight in which young men try to wrest bundles of currency notes from the horns of a ferocious bull. In Andhra Pradesh every household displays its collection of dolls for three days.

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