"Pongal Festival" Top 5 Page for this destination State of Tamil Nadu Off The Beaten Path Tip by Justin_goa

State of Tamil Nadu Off The Beaten Path: 10 reviews and 16 photos

  Bull worship, part of festival
by Justin_goa
 
 

Held in the middle of january, it is the time when the people get ready to thank God, earth and their cattle for the wonderful harvest and celebrate the occasion with joyous festivities and rituals.

Pongal continues through the first four days of Thai month that starts in the mid-January and spreads to mid-February. The houses are cleaned, painted and decorated. Kolams (ground patterns made out of rice flour) are made in the front yards of the houses and new clothes for the whole family are bought to mark the festivities. Even the cattle are gaily caparisoned with beads, bells and flowers-their horns painted and capped with gleaming metals. Pongal has been designated the "State Festival" for its unique celebration that is typical of TamilNadu. It is a festival that encompasses all of TamilNadu in its joyous embrace. It is a time when the poor, the rich, the villager all celebrate the harvest festival together.

Like many other Indian festivals, Pongal also has a few interesting legends attached to it signifying the importance it holds. The most popular legend is the one connected to the first day of the Pongal celebration when the Rain God, Bhogi or Indra is worshipped. According to the legend, on this day Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger to shelter his people and save them from being washed away by the rains and floods.

Another legend is associated with the third day of Pongal celebration, also known as Mattu Pongal. According to it, Lord Shiva once asked Nandi, his bull, to go to earth and deliver his message to the people - to have an oil bath every day, and food once a month. But Nandi got it all mixed up when he delivered the message, and told the people that Shiva asked them to have an oil bath once a month, and eat every day. Shiva was displeased, and told Nandi that since the people would now need to grow more grain, Nandi would have to remain on earth and help them plough the fields.

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  • Updated Jul 23, 2005
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