Thai Pongal Festival 2017 – How It Is Celebrated?

Thai Pongal is celebrated on the first day of Thai month in Tamil calendar. Normally, the day usually fall around 12th and 15th of January. Thai is the first Tamil Almanac month and Pongal is a sweet dish made of moong dal, rice, milk and jaggery. People of any religion can celebrate this event as it is not related to any specific religious faith. The whole population of Tamilians in the world celebrates Thai Pongal festival without any discrimination. Hence, it is aptly called as the “Festival of the Tamils” or “Tamil Thai Pongal”.

Thai Pongal is actually a Thanksgiving ceremony when the farmers commemorate the event to thank the Sun, the farm animals and the nature for their support in making their harvest success. Rest of the people celebrates the event to thank the farmers for producing food. It is overall the festival that encourages social cohesiveness and unites the individuals by keeping them closer in the event. Several songs are recited on Thai Pongal and most of them are based on Tamil literature.

Celebrations and Customs

Thai Pongal Festival

Generally, Thai Pongal covers celebrations and customs which express the jubilation over the renewal of life. The family used to start the day early morning on Thai Pongal. Every member of the family wakes up early morning, takes bath, and wears new clothes and flock at the garden to cook rice pudding (Pongal). They prepare the front garden for ceremonious cooking. They make a flat square pitch and decorate it with Rangoli (Kolam) and expose it to direct sunlight. They set up a firewood hearth with three bricks. Then a clay pot with water is cooked on the hearth.

A senior most family member starts the process of cooking and rest of the members dedicatedly help him and watch the event. Once the water is boiled, they put the rice on the pot. First of all, the senior member of the family puts three hands full of rice. Then the members add other ingredients in this special dish, such as sugar candy (Katkandu), Brown cane Sugar (Chakkarai), coconut milk or cow milk, raisins, Payaru or roasted green gram, and a couple of pods of cardamom. Once the meal is prepared, it is put on banana leaf first and family pray to thank the sun, nature and the farmers for few minutes.

Then, the Pongal is served with mango and banana among the members. Later on, it is shared with friends, neighbors and relatives. Though the food is prepared by every family, sharing “Pongal” to each other is among the basic parts of the festival. According to some Hindu scholars, rice is cooked ceremoniously on the day of Thai Pongal as it is the symbol of fertility and auspiciousness. The families attend the cultural events and visit friends and relatives in the evenings.

Thanksgiving Day

On that day, farmers thank the cattle by paying special attention to the animals as their gratitude for pulling the carts all around the year. The horns of animals are painted with colors, animals are bathed and decorated that day. Farmers offer worship to them.



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