: Tamil Nadu
Time : Mid January
Duration : 4 days
Pongal is an important festival in India, celebrated in the south India state of Tamil Nadu. People of Tamil Nadu pray to the Sun God on this occasion. In North India, it is known as Sankaranthi. The Sun God is very powerful and helps in the growth of the paddy and other plantations. Hence, this festival is very popular with the farmers and so it is celebrated in a grand manner in villages. As the festival comes closer, the houses are cleaned, and all maintanance works are done before this festival. During the four day festival, different varieties of colouful Rangolis are drawn in front of the houses early in the morning.
The celebrations start on the last day of Margazhi, which is known as "Bhogi". On this day, people get up very early in the morning, take head bath. People place all the trash and unwanted items of the house in front of the house and inflame them. The old and useless things are disposed from the house and replaced with new ones. Then rangoli drawn in front of the houses.
Reaping of paddy is done. The new rice is used to make the recipe "pongal" and offered to God. The Sun God moves in chariot driven by seven horses. A picture of the chariot is drawn in an open space when the Sun rises. A small sun is drawn at the center of the chariot. People place turmeric sprigs and sugarcane in the pooja and pooja is done onto the chariot. Then the dishes are offered to God. Once the pooja is over, everyone in the house takes a small amount of Pongal and sprinkles all over the house, saying "Pongalo Pongal". This is done as a prayer to Sun God to bless their houses.
The next day is maattu Pongal - pongal for the cows. Cows are worshipped on this day. Milk suppliers decorate the cows. They paint the horns, apply colours and tie clothes on the cows. Then they take the cows to all the houses.
People go out for places and enjoy this day. This is a day to spend time and entertainment outside.