Pongal 2017: The ban on Jallikattu has soured the whole essence and enthusiasm of the four day long harvest festival. Jallikattu holds a great value for the people of Tamil Nadu and the ban imposed by Supreme Court had triggered unrest and the Centre had not issued a notification allowing the public to celebrate it the traditional way.
Traditionally it is a day to thank and appreciate the Sun God for helping in growing crops by providing energy for its growth as the farmers’ livelihood depends on it. The festival is marked by boiling the fist rice of the harvest, which is sanctified by the Sun.
On Pongal day farmers prepare signature items like Pongal, Shakkara Pongal, sugarcane is offered. A special puja is also performed to thank the Sun god. This harvest festival is traditionally celebrated for four continuous days. First day of the festival falls on 13th January is called Bhogi. This is the day when people reject old belongings and welcome new stuff. Farmers burn their old household materials in fire while chanting “Paraiyana kadiwalum, Pudiyana Pugudulam” that literally means, “Let the old things go away and Let the new things come in”. The lesson inside is that people should change with changing time. New thoughts should be embraced and the old ones should be let go.
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The second day of the festival is called Thai Pongal. This day holds a great importance among the farmers. The first rice of the season is boiled on this day. New stoves of clay are prepared and the rice (sweet pongal) is also cooked in a new clay pot. Pongal is cooked until it starts overflowing the pot. Family members gather around it to perform traditional dances.
Then comes Mattu Pongal which is celebrated on the third day of pongal on 15th January. The idea behind this is to pay regard to cattle which help the farmers in their field. Tamils on this day bath the bulls and cows and paint them nicely before feeding them delicacies.