Pongal is one of the most important Tamil festivals and is an agrarian festival dedicated to Lord Surya. Pongal 2016 date is January 15. The festival symbolically represents the pot of plenty and this is depicted by the boiling over of the cooking rice and lentils. Each Pongal is celebrated with the hope that the new harvest will bring fortune and prosperity to all. It must also be noted that Pongal is also now officially celebrated as the Tamil New Year.
Pongal falls in the Tamil month Thai (January - February) and its origin is traced to the Sangam Period (Before 200 BC). Pongal is a four day festival.
- The first day is Bhogi Pongal.
- The second day is Pongal or Thai Pongal or Perum Pongal and is the most important day.
- The third day is Mattu Pongal.
- The fourth and final day of celebration is Kaanum Pongal.
The main auspicious ceremony on the Pongal day is the cooking of Pongal dish. It is done during the auspicious moment when the Thai month begins. The Pongal dish is prepared in a fresh earthen vessel, which is adorned with flowers, turmeric leaves and roots. It symbolically represents the pot of plenty and festival is has its roots the in the agrarian tradition.
Rituals are dedicated to Surya (Sun God). A major highlight is the display of various farm produces especially Sugar Cane. Another highlight is the kolams especially the Pongal Surya Kolam and Ratha Kolam.