Pongal, which is also known as Ponkal, is a multi-day Hindu festival in South India, which is celebrated by the Tamil community. The Pongal festival is celebrated at the start of the month Tai according to the Tamil Solar Calendar, which falls on January 14. It is dedicated to the Hindu sun god, the Surya and corresponds to Makara Sankranthi, the harvest festival that is celebrated throughout India.
The Pongal festival is celebrated in 3 days, which are the Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, and the Maattu Pongal. According to the tradition, the Pongal festival marks as the end of the winter solstice, and the start of the suns’ six-month-long journey towards Makara, a zodiac. The festival is named after the ceremonial Pongal, which means to boil, overflow and refers to the traditional dish that is prepared from the newly harvested rice. The dish is boiled in milk along with jaggery.
To mark the festival, the Pongal sweet dish is prepared, offered to the gods and goddesses. It is then offered to cows and is shared with the family. The festive celebration also includes decorating cows and their horns. It also baths the cows.
Pongal is one of the most important and celebrated festivals in the Tamil Community with Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India. It is also a major Tamil festival in Sri Lanka. The festival is observed by the Tamil Diaspora all over the world, which includes South Africa, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This day also coincides with Maghi, the day after Lohri, and Makar Sankranti.
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