Pongal is celebrated in Tamil Nadu and is a form of harvest festival which goes on for four days. The festival is a way of the people of Tamil Nadu to thank nature for its help during harvest time. Pongal means ‘to boil’ and marks the season when rice, sugar cane, and other cereals are harvested. It is a festival of prosperity and is celebrated in an extravagant style. On Pongal, many pujas are performed as the women draw kolas at the entrance of the house and many competitions are organised. Kolam is a special type of Rangoli seen in South India. Kolam making might look tough but with some practise and precision, a person can make mindboggling colourful rangolis. The colours used in Pongal are usually powdered and the use of fingers to draw the Pongal kolam designs is an essential part. Also, flower petals and leaves are used for making kolams. The flower petals of different colours are used in making the designs. Sometimes coloured powder is also used along with flowers. There are infinite designs which can be made during the festive season. Here are some Kolam (rangoli) designs which may inspire your imagination.
Interestingly, Pongal is known by different names in different parts of the country. In some parts, it is called Makar Sankranti while in others it is also referred to as Lohri. It is also called Maghi in Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, Magh Bihu in Assam, Poush Sangkranti in West Bengal amongst others.
Makar Sankranti is one of the few ancient Hindu festivals that are observed according to solar cycles, unlike the other festivals that are set by the lunar cycles of the lunisolar Hindu calendar. The festival is dedicated to the Sun God or Surya Devta. It is regarded as important for spiritual practices, which is why people take a holy dip in holy river the Ganges.
Meanwhile, Lohri is one of the most popular and revered Punjabi festivals celebrated in India with great ritualistic fervour. With the onset of the harvest season, the auspicious festival is set to be celebrated on January 13. The festival pays homage to Surya (the sun god), hoping that the god graces the occasion with his presence during the bumper harvest.