Tamil Nadu celebrates Pongal
People in Tamil Nadu celebrated Pongal, the harvest festival, Tuesday by getting up early, donning new clothes and visiting temples.
The Pongal festival is celebrated to thank the sun, rain and farm animals.
The aroma of ghee-fried cashews, almonds and cardamom filled homes as the traditional dish of rice, jaggery and Bengal gram was made.
As the ingredients of Chakarai Pongal boil in milk, people called out 'Pongolo Pongal, Pongolo Pongal'.
The mud pot or stainless steel in which the dish is cooked is decorated by tying up ginger, turmeric, sugarcane piece and banana at the neck.
The Pongal dish is offered to the Sun god as thanksgiving and eaten as 'prasad'. It is made at the auspicious time and in some homes conches are blown prior to the formal offering.
People exchanged greetings and Chakarai Pongal with their neighbours.
The Pongal festivities take place over four days, the first day being Bhogi, which was Monday, when people burn their old clothes, mats and other items. New paints are applied on homes.
The second day is the main Pongal festival celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month Thai.
The third day is the Mattu Pongal when bulls and cows are bathed and their horns painted and worshipped as they play an important role in farms.
Women feed the birds with coloured rice and pray for the welfare of their brothers.
In some parts of the state, jallikattu - a bull-taming sport - is held.
The fourth day is the Kannum Pongal - the day to go out and meet relatives and friends, and go site seeing.
"We celebrated Pongal in a traditional way in the morning. We got up early and finished the prayers," K. Srinivasan, a retired banker, told IANS.
While some hotels offered special Pongal dish, consumer durable retail outlets carried out festive discount sale.
(Posted on 14-01-2014)