The time to harvest is a festive occasion in India, celebrated by Tamils as Pongal; time for celebration, prosperity and a thanksgiving to the Gods, nature, earth, animals and all things that helped in achieving that good harvest. The delicious and mouth watering recipes like sakkarai pongal, rava pongal, chackra pongal and others are delicacies that are common preparations in every household in South India. Pongal is celebrated every year around mid-January (Thai month) also called Thai Pongal and marks the beginning of Uttarayan (sunís journey northwards). Pongal is a four day festival. Drawing Kolam and singing Pongal festival songs are all part of the tradition.
Pongal coincides with Makar Sakranti in North, Lohri in Punjab, Bhogali Bihu in Assam and Bhogi in Andhra Pradesh. They are different names for the festival but the spirit, enthusiasm and cause for celebration is the same. Majority of the Indian population is dependant on agriculture for living. Nature, rain, the Sun God, cattle and appropriate conditions are needed for a good harvest. A farmer works hard day and night and when the results are good his heart rejoices and he celebrates the day with reverence and expressing gratitude towards all. People visit their families and friends and the food is prepared from the fresh grown food. As a tradition milk is boiled and made to spill from the pot symbolizing prosperity and growth.
Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Thai Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Thiruvalluvar are the four days of festivities associated with this festival. Legend has it that on this day Lord Krishna lifted the mountain Goverdhan on his little finger to save the villagers from heavy rain and floods. Another legend associated with this day is that Lord Shiva had once asked Nandi to deliver his message to men on earth. He had to ask all human beings to eat once a month and take a oil bath everyday, however Nandi got confused and asked people to eat everyday. This meant that there would be more food needed on earth. So in order to help people grow more he asked Nandi to help them and since then Nandi (buffalo) is used to plough the fields. Pongal is a day of happiness and prosperity and people exchange warm wishes and Pongal greetings to wish wellness for all. Send online e cards to friends, family and acquaintances to spread the joy of the festival and wish Happy Pongal.