Thai Pongal Date in the current year: January 14, 2018

Thai Pongal Thai Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival dedicated to Surya, the solar deity in Hinduism. It begins on the 1st day of the 10th month in the Tamil calendar, which corresponds to January 14 in the Gregorian calendar, and lasts for four days.

The Thai Pongal festival is believed to have originated more than 1000 years ago. The first part of its name, Thai, is the name of the 10th month in the Tamil calendar. The second part, Pangal, is roughly translated as “overflow” or “boiling over”. This word is associated with prosperity and abundant harvest. During the festival, Tamils thank the solar deity for the harvest and cook a special ritual dish from the first rice of the season.

The traditional dish cooked for the Pongal festival is also called pongal. Its key ingredients are rice and milk. Other ingredients include raisins, cashew nuts, cardamom, and mung beans. There are two main varieties of pongal, sweet and savory. The dish is cooked in a clay pot and served on banana leaves.

Each day of the festival has its own name and specific traditions. The first day is called Bhogi. It is associated with discarding old things and concentrating on new beginnings. On this day, people burn old things in a ritual bonfire, as well as clean and decorate their houses.

The second day of the festival, known as Thai Pongal or Surya Pongal, is the main event. It coincides with the day of the winter solstice in the Hindu calendar when the sun enters the zodiacal sign of Makara (Capricorn). On this day, Tamils decorate their homes and gather around the festive table to share pongal and other dishes.

The third day of the Pongal festival, Maatu Pongal, is dedicated to cattle. It is customary to bathe cows and bulls, polish and paint their horns, decorate them with garlands, and feed them special ritual food.

Kaanum Pongal is the fourth and final day of the festival. On this day, people visit their friends and relatives and give them gifts.

Thai Pongal is celebrated by Tamil people in Sri Lanka, the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry, as well as by Tamil communities worldwide. In other regions, this Hindu harvest festival is known as Makar Sankranti.

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Category

Religious Holidays

Country

India, Sri Lanka

Tags

Thai Pongal, Pongal festival, Tamil festival, harvest festival, festivals in India, festivals in Sri Lanka