Pongal 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.
The third day of Pongal is Mattu Pongal which is dedicated to cattle. People offer prayers to the bulls, cows and other farm animals as cows give nourishing milk while bulls and oxen help plough the fields. Thus, Maatu Pongal is a day when cattle are given a well deserved day of rest and are given pride of place. Therefore the farmers honor their cattle friends by celebrating it as a day of thanks-giving to them as well.
The cattle are washed, their horns are painted and covered with shining metal caps. Multi-colored beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn and flower garlands are tied around their necks. They are fed with Pongal and taken to the village centres. Devotees pay their respect to cows by bending down and touching their feet and foreheads, followed by an aarthi and offering the cattle prasad.