Happy Pongal 2020: Date, Significance and All You Need to Know
Pongal is dedicated to the Hindu god Surya to convey appreciation for providing energy for agriculture.
Women prepare dishes to offer to the Hindu sun god during Pongal celebrations early morning in Mumbai. (Image: Reuters)
That time of the year is back again when every corner of the country is gearing up for harvest festivals and the end of the harsh winter season. Celebrated in South India, especially so in Tamil Nadu, Pongal or Thai Pongal is a four-day harvest festival marked with exquisite cuisine and traditional customs.
This year, Pongal will begin on January 14, 2020 and continue till January 17, 2020.
When is Pongal celebrated?
The festival is dedicated to the Hindu god Surya to convey appreciation for providing energy for agriculture. It is usually celebrated according to the Hindu solar calendar, on the date when the sun begins its northward movement and hence, the days become longer than the nights.
Belief behind Pongal
It is the most widely observed festival in Tamil Nadu, with the four days of the festival being called the Bhogi Pongal, Thai Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal.
The word Pongal comes from a Tamil word “ponga”, which means “to boil”. Pongal stems from the tradition of cooking the new rice in pots until they overflow, which is a symbol of abundance and prosperity. People also believe that this month is auspicious for weddings as the end of the harvest season is associated with abundance of food.
How do people celebrate Pongal?
On the days of Pongal, Tamilians decorate their houses with mango, banana leaves and colourful patterns made with rice flour. The traditional sweet dish of “pongal”, made from rice and jaggery, is prepared at home and Jallikattu, a bull-taming event is organized.
Where is Pongal celebrated?
Besides Tamil Nadu, the festival is also celebrated by Tamils across the world.
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