Pongal is celebrated on the same day
as Bihu, Lohri and Bhogi. But Pongal stretches over four days. The word
Pongal literally means "boiling over" and celebrates the
bounteous crops in the fields. This festival is the biggest event of the
year for the Tamils as well as for the people of Andhra Pradesh.
The first day, Bhogi-Pongal is devoted to Bhogi or Indran, the rain
god. The day is linked with the famous mythological tale about Krishna
lifting Gobardhan parbat on his little finger. The day begins with a til
oil bath and in the evening there is a bonfire made of old cloths,
files, mats and rugs.
The second day, Surya-Pongal, is dedicated to the Sun (Surya). On this
day, pongal (rice cooked in milk and jaggery) is bolied by women who
offer it to the Sun.
Mattu-Pongal, the third day, is the day dedicated to the worship and
veneration of cattle (mattu). The horns of the cattle is decorated with
turmeric and kumkum, small bells and flowers are hung around their neck
and they are paraded in the streets. The pongal that has been offered to
the local deities is given to the cattle to eat.
The last day is known as Kanyapongal. Coloured balls of the pongal are
made and are offered to birds. A kind of bull-fight, called the
'Jallikattu' is held in Madhurai, Tiruchirapalli and Tanjore in Tamil
Nadu and several places in Andhra Pradesh. Bundles containing money are
tied to the horns of ferocious bulls, and unarmed villagers try to wrest
the bundles from them. Bullock Cart race and cock-fight are also held.
In Andhra Pradesh, every household displays its collection of dolls for
three days. Community meals are held at night with freshly harvested