Pongal - Harvest Festival
The festival of Pongal was celebrated at the Sri Narayani Peedam on January 14th and 15th, 2009. The celebrations started very early on Wednesday morning with the ladies (Smt. Jothiamma, Shanthi, Mahalakshmi and Vattama patti and others) cooking pots of Sarkarai Pongal.
After the Pongal rice was finished cooking, it was blessed by Sri Sakthi Amma and offered to God, nature and then to everyone else.
There was also a special yagam done outside of the Swayambhu Temple on this joyous day.
On Thursday January 15th, homage was paid to all the cows in the Ghoshala. They were decorated with tumeric paste and kumkum, some with flowers and they were fed by Sri Sakthi Amma.
Pongal is a celebration of the prosperity and it is associated with the harvest. It is celebrated by thanking God, nature and the farm animals for a bountiful harvest. Pongal is the one of the biggest festivals in Tamil Nadu and goes on for three to four days.
The first day of the festival is called Bhogi and it is celebrated by throwing away old clothes and buying new ones.
The second day is Pongal which is the main day and it falls on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai, usually January 14th. This day is also known as Sarkarai Pongal. Early in the morning, rice is boiled with fresh milk and jaggery (sugar) in new pots, which are later topped with brown sugar, cashew nuts and raisins allowing it to boil over the vessel. The boiled rice is offered to the God and nature during sunrise, a gesture which symbolizes thanks to the sun and nature for providing prosperity. After this it is served to everyone.
The third day is known as Maattu Pongal, this day is for offering thanks to the cows for helping farmers in different ways during their crops. On this day the cattle are decorated with tumeric paste and kumkum or paint, flowers and bells. They are allowed to roam free and fed sweet rice and sugar cane.
During the final day, Kaanum Pongal people visit their relatives and friends to enjoy the festive season. They also decorate the entrance to their houses with kolam beautiful designs made with rice flour tinted with different colours.