Pongal 2024: Date, History, Shubh Muhurat, Puja Samagri, Rituals, and 4 Days of the Festival

Published By: Nibandh Vinod

Last Updated: January 13, 2024, 08:00 IST

Pongal will be observed on January 15 this year. (Image: Shutterstock)

Pongal is celebrated in mid-January, which coincides with the Tamil month of Thai. It is a harvest festival of the Southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala. The festival marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of the harvest season, particularly the rice harvest.

Pongal is a harvest festival that is grandly celebrated in the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala. It is a festival in which people thank the Sun, Mother Nature, and cattle for a bountiful harvest. Apart from worshipping the Sun god, Pongal includes ritualistic worship of cattle, Indra (the God of Rain), and agricultural-related objects. The festival marks the end of the winter season and the start of the harvest season, particularly the rice harvest.

(Image: Shutterstock)

Pongal is observed in South India, whereas Makar Sankranti is celebrated in North India. Pongal is traditionally celebrated in mid-January, coinciding with the Tamil month of Thai. The four-day celebration usually falls on either January 14 or 15 every year. According to Drik Panchang, this year, Pongal will be observed on January 15.

Pongal 2024: History & Significance

This festival can be traced back to the Sangam Age (200 B.C.E. to 300 A.D.). It originated as a Dravidian harvest festival, which is also mentioned in Sanskrit Puranas. It is believed that during the Sangam Era, people celebrated the Thai Un and Thai Niradal festivals. Historians believe that these events led to the current Pongal celebrations. During the Thai Niradal, maidens observed Pavai Nonbu at Sangam Era festivals. The maidens prayed for rain and a prosperous country.

The festival started in December or January. Maidens were to worship the Goddess Katyayni idol, which was carved out of wet sand, after bathing early in the morning. They were instructed to avoid milk and milk products, not oil their hair and refrain from using harsh language when speaking.

(Image: Shutterstock)

Their penance would end on the first day of the Thai month, which fell in January or February. According to an inscription in the Veeraraghava temple in Tiruvallur, Chola King Kiluttunga donated lands to the temple, specifically for Pongal celebrations.

People offer prayers and acts of worship during the Pongal festival as a way of thanking God for a bountiful crop and prosperity. This is also said to be the start of the Tamil New Year. Pongal is a festival that honours the sun, the natural world, animals, and all gods for a bountiful harvest, an abundance of light, and a happy existence.

Pongal 2024: Thai Pongal Muhurat

As per Drik Panchang, Thai Pongal will be observed on Monday, January 15, 2024. The Thai Pongal Sankranti Moment is at 02:54 AM. Meanwhile, Makar Sankranti is on Monday, January 15, 2024.

Pongal 2024: Puja Samagri, Rituals, Celebrations & 4 Days of Pongal

Pongal’s traditions are similar to that of Govardhan Puja and Chhath Puja. The festival lasts four days, each with its customs. Without indulging in a dish prepared during the festivities, also known as Pongal, the celebration is incomplete. This dish is a combination of boiled sweet rice and is named after the Tamil verb pongu, which means “to boil over.”

  1. The first day of Pongal is called Bhogi. It is distinguished by the cleaning and disposal of old possessions. The significance is to symbolise a new beginning. People also redecorate their homes and get new clothes.
  2. The actual celebrations begin on the second day. Surya Pongal honours the Sun God. Every home has a kolam at its entrance. People cook a pot of fresh rice and milk according to the muhurat. A feast is also prepared.
  3. On the third day, known as Maatu Ponga, people worship cattle and honour the hard work they put in to plough the land. Cows are bathed and dressed with beads, garlands, and bells.
  4. Pongal’s final day (fourth day) is known as Kaanum Pongal. This day is all about community and building relationships. Families get together for a feast. They also perform traditional Indian folk dances like Mayilattam and Kolattam.

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