Vinod Rai Sharma | January 16, 2015
Thai Pongal, or (Pongal as it’s known in short) is the harvest festival, that falls in the beginning of the Tamil month Thai. Literally meaning abundance in the Tamil language, it is to give thanks to Surya, the sun god for providing energy for farming and also lends its name to the rice and milk dish that is cooked during the festival. It takes place over 4 days, starting with Bhogi, when old possessions are discarded to welcome the new and ends off with Kaanum Pongal, where family visit each other. Thai Pongal is celebrated the day after Bhogi. Mattu Pongal, where cows are worshipped to give thanks for their role in farming, takes place on the third day.
Celebrated by Tamils around the world, here’s a glimpse of how it was celebrated in Singapore in 2015.
In other parts of India, this day is celebrated as Makar Sankaranthi, a winter harvest festival, to mark the Indic solstice. Kites are flown to to celebrate the coming of spring.
Regardless of when the festival is celebrated, Pongal has become a staple South Indian breakfast dish (learn how to make it). Usually, served with sambhar, chutney and vadai, you can find it at any South Indian tiffin room, available throughout the year!
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