Pongal Festival 2012
As the main occupation of people in India is agriculture, the majority of festivals are connected with this occupation. However, one of the largest of them is Pongal Festival, which is celebrated especially in the Southern side of India. It is a reason for people to rejoice, to create a communion with nature, and to be thankful for what the nature gave them.
Pongal Festival celebrates the end of the winter season, and the beginning of the fertile period. The sun moves from the south to the north, and it is considered an auspicious period. This festival lasts for four says, in December – January, but as it is celebrated in many parts of the country, it has different durations. In some parts of the country, Pongal is considered as being the beginning of the Thai Autumn.
- The rituals during this 3 days celebration, such as wearing special clothes, and cleaning the house. The families prepare this celebration for weeks, and the best clothes are arranged. In some parts of the country, it is mandatory to wear new clothes, generally of a white color. During the festival, sugar canes are eaten, and the houses are decorated with rice paste. Those rice pastes are called kolams, and they have a white color. Some people prefer to paint the kolams, but it is mandatory to have at least one of the white color.
- Of course, people have to exchange gifts for Pongal. While in the past, the gifts had an agricultural character, today, people with other occupations started to make presents one to the other. However, the gifts must be connected with the main preoccupation of the respective person. In other words, the smithy of the village can bring a decorative statue made of iron, and he will receive agricultural products from people that have this preoccupation.
The festivities are lavish, and the tourists especially like this period.
Day by Day Rituals
- During the first day, the celebrations will praise the sun and earth. People will eat rice and milk from the first paddy.
- The second day is the most important of the festival, as people have to worship the son god Surya and his consorts. The old clothes have to be thrown in the fire.
- The third day is reserved for worshiping the animals that give the necessary meanings for the people to live. Moreover, people have to leave rice and bananas for the birds to feast. In other words, the third day of the festival is dedicated entirely for worshiping the animals.
- The last day of the festival is reserved for visits. People have to visit their friends and relatives, and they have to exchange gifts. It is a sign of prosperity, and it is believed that people who don’t make gifts one to the other would probably not have the desired prosperity.
The Pongal Festival is also popular for tourists, as they have the chance to taste the Indian traditions and to see something that can’t be seen in any other part of the world.
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