New Delhi Jagran Lifestyle Desk: The popular harvest festival Pongal will be celebrated with much zeal and enthusiasm across the country, mainly in the southern states, from 14 January. The four-day festival commemorates the passing of the winter solstice and the beginning of the harvest season. On this day, farmers expect Surya Dev – Suryan – and Indira, the god of rain, and a bountiful harvest. Before the start of this multi-day festival, let us consider its history, importance and how it has traditionally been celebrated for centuries.
Pongal originated as a Dravidian harvest festival and its history can be traced back to the Sangam era, which stretched from 3 BCE to 3 CE. The festival is mentioned in an inscription of the Veeraghwa temple, built during the Chola period and dedicated to Vishnu. One of the dishes prepared to mark the occasion gets its name from Pongal.
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Pongal commemorates the passage of the winter solstice and the beginning of the harvest season. The first day of the festival is known as “Bhogi” and is dedicated to Indra, the god of rain. The second day is known as Thai Pongal, the third day as Mattu Pongal and the fourth day as ‘Kannum Pongal’. People pay homage to the Sun God as well as Lord Indra to get better yields and adequate water. The festival is mainly celebrated in the Tamil community.
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People start multi-day celebrations by decorating their homes and offices. On the second day, they perform special poojas to seek the blessings of the Sun God. The next day, the farmers decorate their kettle and worship them. Festivals end on the last day with communities organizing social events to strengthen mutual bonds.