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Pongal

One of the biggest harvest festivals celebrated by Indians, it is majorly a festival important for the Tamils and includes people living in Puducherry and Sri Lanka as well.

A simple Tamil translation of Pongal is “boiling over” or “spilling over” which basically signifies how the milk’s boiling over of Milk (while the cooking of rice in a clay pot) is important for various families as it basically represents the state of material satisfaction for the household.

Commonly known as Thai Pongal, and depending upon the movement of planets it is celebrated usually to mark the beginning of the Thai’s Tamil month, and it coincides with the Hindu festival Makar Sankranti.

Historically it is a festival dedicated to the Sun deity and it commences with the Tamils offering the Sun deity the first grain for the day, this basically in intended to thank the sun deity and the livestock for helping create the situation of material bliss in the households.

Pongal is the day when the position of the Sun shifts northwards. This also marks the northward journey of the sun. Talking astrologically it basically marks the time the Sun enters the house of Magaram i.e. the zodiac Capricorn.

Various savories and sweets are prepared for the people present in the household and they are served to every one after they have been first offered to the Sun god.

History of Pongal

This Festival is more than a 1000 years old and is supposed to be around from before the times of the medieval Chola Empire, it basically can be traced back to the Sangam Age i.e. 200 B.C -300 A.D. And it originated as a festival basically for the Dravidians, it also has a mention in the Puranas, during the Sangam era it is said people worshipped Goddess Katyayani idol, they ended their prayers on the first day of the month of Thai (January-February). These prayers usually consisted of offerings to various deities to bring abundant rains to flourish the paddy.

It is a tradition to draw Rangoli’s outside houses and also Tamils consume sugar cane, make sweetened rice and dedicate various specially prepared dishes to the Sun God. In other parts of the country, Kite flying is a popular way of celebrating this festival with many major kite flying contests also held. In northern India millions of people bath in rivers and also offer prayers early morning to the Sun God.

Pongal Greeting Cards

It being one of the most popular festivals in all of south India, millions of cards get exchanged between people in which Pongal wishes are expressed.

In this technology based world where people do not have time to make or even buy cards, people also choose various E-cards which not only come in a huge variety of designs and animations but also offer people a very cost effective and easy way of sending greetings to the loved ones.

Traditionally Pongal cards consists of Colorful Rangoli or Kolam designs as they are more popularly known and also consist of various images which symbolize the rising sun or lush fields etc which basically stand as signs of prosperity and growth. Sometimes the cards even have images of healthy livestock along with the traditional Pongal greetings.

Celebrated as Lohri in Punjab and Sankranthi in Orissa, Karnataka, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Pongal 2015 (majorly celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Sri Lanka) will be celebrated on the 14th of January and Pongal gifts will be exchanged.