Popularly known as Pongal, this is a thanksgiving and harvest festival that is celebrated by the Tamil communities in Southern India. This beautiful festival marks the transition from the chilly winter to the soothing springtime.
The 3-day long festival will be celebrated during mid-January between January 15 to January 18 in the year 2023. The first day of the festival is called Bhogi Pongal, the second is termed Surya Pongal, and the last one is known as Mattu Pongal. There is a fourth day of the festival called Kanum Pongal which is celebrated by a selected Tamil community.
This harvest festival is known as Thai Pongal by various Tamil communities.
Just like Makar Sankranti is dedicated to the sun god, Surya, Pongal also worships the same god. Since this time is a time of joy in every part of the country, it is celebrated in different regions in India with different names.
As per PongalFestival.org, “Pongal can be traced back to the Sangam Age i.e. 200 B.C. To 300 A.D. Although Pongal originated as a Dravidian Harvest festival and has a mention in Sanskrit Puranas, historians identify the festival with the Thai Un and Thai Niradal which are believed to have been celebrated during the Sangam Age.”
Many mythological stories revolve around telling the tale behind the festival Pongal and one such interesting story is about Lord Shiva and Basava, his bull.
It is believed that once Lord Shiva sent Basava, his bull, down to the earth where he was supposed to share Lord Shiva’s message with the people living on earth. Shiva wanted to ask his people to eat once a month and take an oil massage bath every day. However, Basava somehow got confused and told people to do the opposite of it which included eating every day and taking an oil massage bath once every month.
Lord Shiva got filled with rage after knowing what Basava did and expelled him from Kaylaya to live on the earth to help people produce more food. It is believed that since that day, bull helps people plough the land to grow more food. Farmers were forever grateful to Basava for his help so they started celebrating Pongal to portray their gratitude towards Basava for helping them in the production of more food. So, people celebrate cattle during Pongal which is also a thanksgiving to them for the food.
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