Pongal translates to "spilling over" and the festival derives its name from the tradition of boiling rice in a pot till it starts overflowing. Other popular traditions in the celebration of Pongal include the drawing of rangolis and cooking of the Pongal dish, which is a Tamil preparation of rice boiled with milk and jaggery.
This year, Pongal began on January 13 and ends on January 16. The first day of Pongal is called Bogi, or Bhogi Pongal, and is celebrated in honour of Lord Indra. Lord Indra is considered the God of clouds and rains, and is believed to bring plenty and prosperity to the land.
Apart from Tamil Nadu, Pongal is also popular in the Union Territory of Puducherry. It is also celebrated by the many Tamil people staying abroad, especially in neighbouring Sri Lanka.