Pongal is celebrated in the southern part of India especially in Tamil Nadu where it is celebrated as the harvest festival. It marks the end of chilly winters when the Uttarayan commences. This entails the journey of the sun towards the North which is considered as a very auspicious occasion. People also send gifts to India from USA as it is a tradition to send sweets, flowers, chocolates, dry fruits as India gifts to your family, friends and relatives. Pongal is celebrated through three days and each day has a special significance to it. Let us see what those are.
Rituals & Customs Of Pongal : The most important ritual is to clean the house and the entire area around it. Kolam is an important ingredient of the Pongal which is made out of rice paste. Colourful kolams are also drawn. Another custom is consuming sugarcane on that day after bathing and wearing new and fresh clothes.
Pongal Celebration : Pongal is celebrated for four days. The various customs associated with it are as follows.
Bhogi Pongal : The first day is called Bhogi pongal where people worship the Sun God, Surya and Mother Earth. The first paddy harvested is cooked to make rice which is cooking rice with milk which is a special ritual of this occasion.
Perum Pongal : This is the second and most important day of the festival where it is devoted to the Surya Devta. On this day the Sun God is worshipped along with his consorts - Chaya and Samganya. People wear new clothes on this occasion and throw old clothes and food into a large bonfire. They sing and dance around the fire to commemorate the festival.
Mattu Pongal : The third day is called the Mattu pongal where animals involved with agricultural community like cow, bullock etc. are worshipped. They are cleaned, bathed, massages and made to wear bright vibrant clothes made especially for them.
Kaanum Pongal : The fourth day of the celebrations are dedicated for visiting friends and relatives. Puja is performed by the women of the house to bring prosperity and happiness and well being to the house. People also exchange gifts on this day.
Tradition of Giving Gifts : It is customary to send gifts to India to friends and family on Pongal. Along with handicraft gifts you could also choose various food delicacies like sweets, dry fruits and fruits on Pongal to make this occasion an even more special one.