Pongal is the biggest festival in Tamil Nadu. Pongal corresponds with the Makar Sankranti and Uttarayana, when the Sun migrates from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. Pongal is traditionally celebrated with much fervour for four days in the state. This year Pongal is from January 13 to 16 but the main day is on January 14. Pongal is essentially a harvest festival to express gratitude to the Sun god and Lord Indra for blessing farmers with a bumper crop. There are so many aspects to Pongal - decorations, rituals and customs and of course the special food. Pongal translates to "spilling over" and the festival derives its name from the tradition of boiling rice, milk and jaggery in a pot till it starts overflowing.
Pongal 2021: Days and dates
- The first day is called Bhogi Pandigai: Wednesday, January 13
- The main day is called Thai Pongal or Surya Pongal: Thursday, January 14
- Thai Pongal Sankranti moment is 8:29 AM
- The third day is called Mattu Pongal: Friday, January 15
- The last day is called Kaanum Pongal: Saturday, January 16
Pongal historically stands for prosperity and happiness. The four days of Pongal bring together people, happiness, blessings and good health. Households have a festive look, people wear new clothes and traditional delicacies are cooked.
Pongal delicacies are truly unique. The variety of pongal dishes have a distinct taste and flavour depending on the region of Tamil Nadu. Made of green gram, rice and jaggery, pongals are both sweet and savoury. Apart from the pongal staple, there are vadas, several kinds of chutneys, sweets and of course the payasam.