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Significance of Sugarcane in Pongal - Story Associated With Shiva

Ever wondered why is sugarcane an indispensable part of Pongal? Sugarcane symbolizes sweetness and happiness. But there is also a story associated with Shiva for the widespread use of sugarcane during Pongal.

It is said that on a Perum Pongal day, Lord Shiva performed the miracle of feeding sugarcane to a stone image of an elephant in the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. Lord Shiva is known as Lord Sundareshwar in Meenakshi temple and there is a stone carving based on the event in the temple.

Apart from sugarcane some of the other essentials during Pongal are turmeric tufts, koorai poo, Aavaram poo, banana leaves and mango leaves. Koorai poo is believed to keep evil away and so it is placed in front of houses.

The neck of the Ponga panai (the vessel in which Pongal is prepared) is tied with fresh turmeric leaves. In some places, fresh tender green leaves of ginger are also used. The green leaves symbolize prosperity.