The four day festival thanking the Sun God for an abundant harvest is called as Pongal. Its other names are Makara Snakaranthi,Utharayana and Maghi. Pongal is celebrated by the ethnic Tamils and also across all states. The people of Indian origin in almost all countries are celebrating this festival in a grand manner. It will be surprising to know that the U.S.Senate has passed to observe January 14th as Pongal Day from 2017 onwards.The festival marks the travel of the Sun towards the equinox for a period of six months. Makara Sankaranthi marks the journey of the Sun called Utharayanam. According to Gregorian Calendar, Pongal is celebrated between 14th to 16th January of every year. This falls in the tenth Tamil month called Thai. Actually, the rituals start from the last day of the ninth month Margazhi and lasts for four days.
The day before the Pongal is called Bhogi. People discard the older belongings and go for new things. This is likened to the concept that only the change is inevitable in this world. Across the country, The rituals are similar to that of Holika in North India.
The second day is the important festival called Pongal. In Tamil, Pongal means “Overflowing” or “Abundant”. As the Tamil families are mostly Farming dependant, this festival is celebrated as a thanks giving to the Sun God for a good harvest and also as a prayer for the next season. On the eve, people make food with the new rice along with sweets and savouries. Sugar cane is an important item in this festival. The third day is for the baffaloes without which people cannot do farming. They decorate the horns of the buffaloes and games like taming the bull are played in almost all the villages. It is popularly known as “Jallikattu”.
The fourth day is called “Kaanum Pongal” means reunion of friends and families. Delicacies will be shared and people will spend time together with their kith and kin. Thus, Pongal is not only a festival, but the life of the farmers.