Thai pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu. Pongal is four day long festival consisting of Bhogi, Thai Pongal, Maatu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal. Thai pongal is the most important of all these four days. It is also known as Makar Sankranthi in some parts of India. This post explains in detail about the history and traditions of Thai Pongal.
History of Thai Pongal
Thai Pongal is celebrated from the Sangam Age. Earlier the festival was celebrated as Thai Un or Thai Niradal. The celebrations involved young girls dancing on folk songs. These girls had to avoid using any milk products. Moreover use of oil was also restricted for these girls during this period.
There are various mythological stories behind the origin of this festival as well. As per the first story, Lord Shiva once asked his bull “basava” to go to earth with a message. The message for mortals was that they should have oil massage and bath daily to eat once in month. By mistake, “basava” said to eat daily and have bath once a month. When lord Shiva came to know about this he got angry on “basava” and asked him to remain on earth to plough fields. This is the reason behind attachment of this festival with cattle.
Another story is of Lord Indra and Lord Krishna. Once Lord Krishna became angry with Lord Indra as he was showing arrogant attitude after becoming king of all gods. He decided to teach Indra a lesson. He asked all people to stop worshipping Lord Indra. Indra became angry on this and started heavy rains and lightning on common people. Lord Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan to save people. Finally, Lord Indra realized his mistake and the capabilities of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna also forgot Indra and then people started worshipping him once again.
Thai Pongal Celebrations
Thai Pongal is the second day of Pongal. On this day rice pudding is made with fresh harvested rice, milk and jaggery. While boiling, the milk is allowed to spill as it is considered as sign of prosperity. This pudding is also called Pongal. It is first served to god sun and then to friends and relatives on banana leaves.