|January 14, 2017|
The people of Tamil Nadu celebrate Pongal. The occasion is called “Makara Sankaranthi” (Tamilians call it Pongal Pandigai). The newly harvested rice is cooked and this preparation goes by the name Pongal. It is undoubtedly the most important festival celebrated by the Tamilians, a harvest festival honouring the sun god and the god of rain, Indra. Pongal represents a kind of thanksgiving for the plentiful paddy crop that the farmer harvests during the mild winter months in the south of India.
The house is kept spotlessly clean!
The first day (Bhogi pandigai)
This day is dedicated to Indra, one who bestows the much-needed rain. Indra is also called the Bhogi, the one who enjoys the good things of life. On the bhogi day, every member of the house rises early and has an oil bath.
People take a good bath with water and Shikakai that helps to enrich the skin and increase its suppleness. Everyone appears bright and ready to celebrate. Both in the villages and the towns people collect old items that have outlived their use, such as mats, rugs files, clothes and burn them in a bonfire, beating drums specially made for this occasion, thus fulfilling their desire for making noise and indulging in fun and frolic, a time for children to look forward to Several dishes are prepared on this occasion; for instance sweets such as Poli and salty dishes such as Vadai and different kinds of rice.
The second day
This day falls on 14th January and is celebrated as Makar Sankranthi in northern regions of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra,Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and other parts of India. The whole of India celebrates this festival under different names. On this day, houses are decorated with strings of mango leaves tied neatly with stems tucked inwards to form a loop. Forming a beautiful green chain, it is tied across all doorways and pillars. Banana,sugarcane plants and coconut fronds are positioned against gateways and pillars.Marigolds are strung up in threads, tied alongside lending colour and freshness to the decoration. Fresh Rangoli patterns are drawn on the floor of the verandah and rooms by the women of the house. Homes appear like are galleries.
The rangoli is always prepared with the outline in white flour/ ground chalk . It is traced by holding it between the thumb & the index finger and letting it go to form a geometrical or floral design .The special vessel of brass and mud is decorated with mango leaves, ginger saplings, fresh turmeric leaves with the pod/stalk and sugarcane pieces tied around its neck in a string. The vessel itself is decorated with kumkum and haldi dots. The vessel and its contents are placed on the fire in a clean kitchen by the lady of the house and a variety of special dishes are prepared on this day.