Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamils in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. This four-day festival is also observed all over the world by the Tamil community. Pongal marks the auspicious beginning of the suns northward movement into the zodiac sign of Capricorn or Makara. This northward journey is known as Uttarayana.
Date for Pongal 2013
This festival starts on January 14 and ends on January 17 every year. The four days of Pongal and their dates are given below.
Bhogi January 14
Surya Pongal January 15
Mattu Pongal January 16
Kaanum Pongal or Thiruvalluvar Day January 17
Pongal is not a gazetted holiday across the whole of India. But it is observed as a religious holiday in Central and South India. Schools and colleges as well as agricultural businesses observe a holiday during this festival.
This harvest festival is associated with a couple of legends related to Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna. According to the legend of Lord Shiva, he had actually sent his bull, Nandi to inform the human beings that they should take an oil bath daily and eat only once a month. But Nandi got confused and told them that they should eat daily but take their bath only once a month. Being angry at this, Shiva ordered Nandi to stay on earth and help the human beings cultivate their crops and grow their harvest.
There goes another legend according to which, Lord Krishna had lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger.
This incident occurred on Bhogi which is observed as the 1st day of Pongal. By doing so, he saved his villagers and their cattle from the severe rains and thunderstorms that Lord Indra had sent on earth.
Pongal is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and religious fervor. During this festival, the Tamils not only worship Lord Indra but also offer their prayers to Lord Vinayak, Sun God or Surya, Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Parvati. A special highlight of this festival is decorating the cattle so that they can be taken for a parade through the villages.