Celebrating Thai Pongal


Pongal festival is celebrated on the first day of Thai according to the solar calendar of Tamils(mid-January). It is a great festival that showcases the Tamil culture to the world. It is an agricultural festival based on harvest. On this day they give thanks to Surya, the Lord of Tamils. Pongal is the oldest festival celebrated in India and Sri Lanka. The festival is celebrated as a way of giving thanks to the sun, farmers, and livestock that help in the agriculture that feeds us. Pongal is the only festival celebrated by all the Tamil people irrespective of religion.Pongal festival is known by many names as Thai Pongal, Farmer Thirunaal, Tamil Thirunaal, Harvest Thirunaal, and Thai Thirunaal. This festival is celebrated not only in Tamil Nadu but also by Tamils in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, North America, and various European countries. On the day of Pongal, buy a new pot and cook Pongal in Pacharisi. They pray to the Lord that happiness and wealth should overflow in the house like the Pongal pot overflows. In the middle of the kolam, place the hearth and the decorated newpot, tie a bunch of turmeric around it, and sprinkle sugar Pongal on it. There is a custom of saying Pongalo Pongal when Pongal is in full overflow. After that, they spread a banana leaf to make padayal and light an earthen lamp on it, make Pillaiyar in dung, put new grains, new vegetables, and sugarcane, and perform puja. After the puja, all relatives sit together and eat Pongal.In addition to the culinary festivities, Thai Pongal transcends cultural and geographical boundaries, serving as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Tamil community. It not only emphasizes the importance of agriculture but also promotes the values of gratitude, sharing, and unity. As the festival unfolds, it brings people closer, fostering a sense of belonging and shared heritage. Thai Pongal stands as a reminder of the significance of agriculture in shaping communities, and its festivities echo the age-old traditions that continue to bind generations together in a celebration of life, prosperity, and gratitude.

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Rtr. Balakrishnan Sugashani
(Co-Director of Membership Development 2023-24)

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