Pongal is a celebration of the prosperity and it is associated with the harvest. It is celebrated by thanking God, nature and the farm animals for a bountiful harvest. Pongal is the one of the biggest festivals in Tamil Nadu and goes on for three to four days.
The first day of the festival is called Bhogi and it is celebrated by throwing away old clothes and buying new ones.
The second day is Pongal which is the main day and it falls on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai, usually January 14th. This day is also known as Sarkarai Pongal. Early in the morning, rice is boiled with fresh milk and jaggery (sugar) in new pots, which are later topped with brown sugar, cashew nuts and raisins allowing it to boil over the vessel. The boiled rice is offered to the God and nature during sunrise, a gesture which symbolizes thanks to the sun and nature for providing prosperity. After this it is served to everyone.
The third day is known as Maattu Pongal, this day is for offering thanks to the cows for helping farmers in different ways during their crops. On this day the cattle are decorated with tumeric paste and kumkum or paint, flowers and bells. They are allowed to roam free and fed sweet rice and sugar cane.
Sri Sakthi Amma performs the aarathi
Sri Sakthi Amma performs the aarathi to Lord Surya
Sri Suktha Homam - Sri Sakthi Amma adds an offering into the Homam
Sri Sakthi Amma adds an offering into the Homam