India is the land of agriculture. Change of season play an important role in the life of Indian farmers. Most of the celebrations and festivals are thus linked with the seasons. There are many harvesting festivals that are celebrated in all most all the regions of India. Pongal is one such harvesting festival that is celebrated in the South Indian state Tamil Nadu, union territory Puducherry and in Sri Lanka. Pongal coincides with the festival Makar Sankranthi that is celebrated throughout India. Pongal is the only festival that is celebrated according to the solar calendar and is celebrated on the fourteenth of January every year. It marks the beginning of Uttarayana, the sun's movement in the northward for a six months period. In Hinduism Uttarayana is considered auspicious as opposed to Dakshinaayana or the southern movement of the sun. All the important events in India are scheduled during the period of Makar Sankranthi during which the sun enters the zodiac sign of Makara or Capricorn.
Pongal is celebrated for four consecutive days in Tamil Nadu. Bhogi is celebrated on January 13 on which the old clothes and materials are thrown away or fired marking the beginning of a new life. Pongal is celebrated on 14 Jan. It is celebrated by boiling the rice with fresh milk and jaggery in the new clay pot. The rice is later topped with brown sugar, ghee, cashew nuts and raisins. People prepare sweets and savories, visit friends and distribute the sweets and exchange the greetings. Maattuppongal is celebrated on 15th January. It is meant to thanks cows and buffalos as they used to plough the fields. On 16th January Thiruvalluvar is celebrated. On this day of Kanum Pongal, people go out for picnics. Pongal is also known as "Tamizhar Thirunal" meaning "the festival of Tamils". Even though Pongal was originally the festival of farmers but now it was celebrated by all. In south India all days of the Pongal festival are important but those who settled in the other parts of the country they usually celebrate only the second day coinciding with Makara Sankranti and Lohri of the North and it is also called Pongal Sankranti.
Plan a trip to India in the festive season and enjoy the beauty of this land that is full of fair and festivals. For tour bookings to the various Indian festivals please fill the form or contact us.