Pongal means rice cooked in milk and sweetened with brown sugar during the month of Thaiis. It is one of the most popular thanksgiving or Harvest festival of South India, celebrated at the end harvest season by the Tamilians all over the world and mainly in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Bhogi Pongal is the first day of the tamilian festival Pongal and is celebrated to worship Lord Indra, “the God of Clouds and Rains”. Lord Indra is worshiped for the abundance of harvest, thereby bringing plenty and prosperity to the land. Thus, this day is also known as Indran.
On Bhogi all people clean out their homes from top to bottom, and collect all unwanted goods. This day is meant for domestic activities and of being together with the family members.
All the houses from the richest to the humblest are thoroughly scrubbed and whitewashed. Homes are decorated with “Kolam” – floor designs drawn in the white paste of newly harvested rice with outlines of red mud. Fresh harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane is brought in from the field as preparation for the following day.
Farmers worship the sun and the earth by anointing their ploughs and sickles with sandalwood paste. It is with these consecrated tools that the newly-harvested rice is cut. Girls dance around the bonfire, singing songs in praise of the gods, the spring and the harvest. The significance of the bonfire, in which is burnt the agricultural wastes and firewood is to keep warm during the last lap of winter.
Wishing all readers Happy Pongal 2018 !!!