‘Pongal’ is a word derived from the Tamil literature meaning “to boil.” It is a harvest festival which is celebrated for four-day-long in Tamil Nadu in the month of January-February (Thai) during the solar equinox after harvesting of major crops like rice, sugarcane, turmeric, etc. It begins from January 15 and will continue till January 18.
This festival is generally celebrated in four different days- the First day is the Bhogi festival, The second day being Thai Pongal; the Third day will be Mattu Pongal; the Fourth day is called Kaanum Pongal.
History of Pongal
History of this festival can be traced back to the era of Sangam Age when it was considered as a ‘Dravidian Harvest festival’. But some of the historians claim that this festival is dated back at least 2,000 years old. It was celebrated as Thai Niradal.
Some legends also tell, that during this time some unmarried girls prayed for agricultural prosperity of the country and for the purpose, they observed penance during the Tamil month of Margazhi. All through the month, they abstained from the consumption of milk and milk products.
Mythology associated with Pongal
Lord Shiva once asked Basava (Bull) to visit on the Earth and ask the Human to have an oil massage and bath every day. But Basava (Bull) announced that eat daily and have an oil bath once in a month. This makes the Lord Shiva furious and he cursed the Basava (Bull) to live on the Earth forever and said that Basava (Bull) has to plough the fields and help people produce more food.
Significance of Pongal
We know primarily India is an agricultural country and the majority of the festivals that occur in India are majorly inclined towards nature. Pongal is also referred to as Uttarayan Punyakalam which bears special significance in Hindu mythology and is considered extremely auspicious.