thai-pongal

Thai Pongal is a Tamil Hindu harvest festival. Thai Pongal is a four-day festival which according to the Gregorian calendar is normally celebrated from January 13 to January 16, but sometimes it is celebrated from January 14 to January 17. This corresponds to the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai.

Thai Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Tamil people in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry, Sri Lanka,as well as Tamils worldwide, including those in Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, United States, Singapore, Canad and UK.Thai Pongal corresponds to Makara Sankranthi, the winter harvest festival celebrated throughout India.

The origins of the Thai Pongal festival may date to more than 1000 years ago.Epigraphic evidence suggests the celebration of the Puthiyeedu during the Medieval Chola empire days. Puthiyeedu is believed to represent the first harvest of the year. Tamil people refer to Pongal as “Tamizhar Thirunaal,” the festival of Tamizhs.Thai Pongal, also referred to as Makara Sankranti, is referred to in the classic work of Hindu astrology, the Surya Siddhanta.

Besides rice and milk the ingredients of this sweet dish include cardamom, jaggery, raisins, Green gram (split), and cashew nuts. Cooking is done in sunlight, usually in a porch or courtyard, as the dish is dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. The cooking is done in a clay pot or a copper pot that is decorated with coloured patterns called kolam. Pongal has twoy variants, one sweet and one savoury. The dish is served on banana leaves.Cooking pongal is a traditional practice at Hindu temples during any part of the Temple Festival in Tamil Nadu.

Thai refers to the name of the tenth month in the Tamil calendar, Thai Pongal usually means festivity or celebration;more specifically Pongal is translated as “boiling over” or “overflow.” Pongal is also the name of a sweetened dish of rice boiled with lentils that is ritually consumed on this day. Symbolically, pongal signifies the gradual heating of the earth as the Sun travels northward toward the equinox.This day coincides with Makara Sankranthi which is celebrated throughout India.