Pongal O Pongal!

Pongal Kalash

Narrow mud streets, all cleanly swept and wiped with cow dung. Houses that are closely built sharing common walls.Brightly colored rangolis stretching through the entire width of the houses, competeting to capture the eyes of the people.

Hey, wait! Want to visit my village and know the complete scenario of how we celebrate pongal, the harvest festival of our land? Come on  then,  be ready for a long post. Walk back with me to the month of marghazi. Marghazi is the tamil month prior to the month of thai. The day one of the month, thai  is celebrated as pongal  festival. But the  festive fever will begin from marghazi. The month marghazi is considered as dedicative month for  worship. All would start  early in the morning in this month , go for temples and so ladies would lit lamps in their  house fronts and put beautiful rangolis all thro’ the month. (Rangoli is an art form of drawing patterns on the floor  with rice flour . This was done in olden days so as to feed the poor creatures like ants and birds ) Also they would start their ‘annual mega cleaning  camp’. They would clean every inch of the house and repaint the walls. It would be like  a ‘complete make over’. Also on a particular auspicious day in marghazi, all would  go to the lakefront to dig and bring new red soil to mold their new stove for the pongal. Also on yet another good day, they would all order for new mud pots from the potter.

On the dawn of pongal , all the people in the village except the busy mothers will march out to the local hill temple, to welcome the rising sun. They would show karpoor aarti to the sun god and return to home to help their moms . Mostly all our houses in our village have a  mutram,  an open corridor where you can enjoy the sun , rain and the moon light . In this centre of the house , they would spread  sand as a bed for the newly made stoves , in which they  ignite the fire with the holy karpooram  and cook pongal in the new pots and freshly harvested rice. When they start cooking in the new pots, they would boil milk and as it soars up, all people in the house would say aloud ‘pongal o  pongal’ and praise the sun god for the gift of prosperity. Thus the first day of the thankgiving celebration is dedicated to  the sun god , the prime factor for a good harvest. Typically  the day’s menu would be  venpongal (cooked and mashed  rice ), payaru (mashed spicy whole moong dal ) , and pusanikai kootu(squash lentil medley).

Pongal Pooja

The second day is to thank the cattle which helped in farming. The cows are given a special ‘bubble’ bath in the nearby lakes , their horns colored in variety and decorated with ribbons.

The third day is called the ‘kaanum pongal’  where the people set out to meet friends and relatives. In cities, this day  is much enjoyed and all the theatres, restraunts, and  beaches are crowded. In our village, whereas the scene is  slightly different.  All the people will get together around the hill temple and have a great time. It is a big fund raising festival for the stall keepers, a great  oppurtunity for the teenager girls to show off their new pavadai thavani  and a great time for the teenage boys to appreciate all the ‘beauty’ on the earth .

In a nut shell, pongal is a month long preparation and a week long celebration for all of us. I really miss such a festival and could only write memories about it.

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20 thoughts on “Pongal O Pongal!”

  1. usha says:

    Hi Lakshmiammal,

    While reading your post, even memories starting sailoring the festival celebrations in India..

    Your poojai picture (vinayagar statueand nandhi) everything is similiar as in our hometown. I remembered ours…

  2. Viji says:

    Hi Lakshmiammal Wishing you a very happy Pongal. Viji

  3. swapna says:

    hi lkashmi ammal
    dealted pongal wishes to u ….

  4. swapna says:

    soory ammal
    there is a spelling mistake in my comment….delated wishes to u…

  5. Asha says:

    I love the pics!Hope you had a good day yesterday!:))

  6. Jacob says:

    your writing is very evoctive. i spent four wondeful years in chennai and i still have fond memories of pongal which your writing brings back. also love you pictures.

  7. Nidhi says:

    Happy Pongal to you and your Family… Pictures are very colorful and nice, good write-up too..


  8. ash says:

    How about Boghi pandigai? Do you clean and burn unwanted garbage on that day in your village? Pongal Vazhthukkal to you and your family.

  9. Menu Today says:

    Hi LakshmiAmmal,
    Nice writeup about pongal and great pictures. Kaanum pongal vazhthukkal..

  10. Viji says:

    Hi Lashmiammal Wishing you a happy pongal too. viji

  11. Sushma says:

    What a nice write up. Loved reading your post..Wishing you and your family a Happy Pongal.. Hope you had a good one

  12. maheswari says:

    Hope you had a very happy pongal.And about knitting, i can send you some links for learning knitting.They have even video demo for knitting.Just let me know..ok
    Hope receive entry from you for AFAM soon.Thanks in advance

  13. sandeepa says:

    Thanks lakshmi, for the very informative write up on Pongal. Nice reading and got to know a lot too, the pics were lovely too
    What do you do here in the US ?

  14. lakshmiammal says:

    Had guests all long so I could not respond immediately to the wishes! Thank you all ! Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend and pongal!
    BTW I borrowed the pictures from http://www.pongalfestival.org, I wish I had my own images to post.

    Hi Ash,
    On bhogi, we do burn unwanted things in the early morning. Every street starts a fire on the day and there would be a competetive spirit between the street lads so as to see who can rise the fire to the maximum height.We used to play aloud cine songs early in the morning to wake up the sleeping beauties and chit chat on the thinnai(sitting benches in the front of the houses) till late morning when there are only ashes in that place. Thanks for reminding me about bhogi!

  15. Vini K says:

    Hi Lakshmi,Belated Pongal wishes to you and your family!Have been busy so haven’t been able to visit all the blogs..

  16. Lovely post about pongal… is it okay if I link this from my blog?

  17. Lovely post about pongal… is it okay if I link this from my blog? Happy Pongal to you and yours.

  18. PAVITHRA says:

    gr8 wrk

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