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Pongal 2024 Dates, Significance and History of Festival

By MayukhaJanuary 10, 2024
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It’s Finally that time of the year, Ready for the scoop on Pongal? It's this fantastic harvest festival rocking Tamilnadu and Southern India for four days straight, usually around January or February. We call it "Thai Pongal" and the cool four days it runs are known as "Uttarayanam." Oh, and in other parts of India, they're celebrating it as "Makar Sankranti." Cool, right? 🌾🌞 Now, in our blog, we've got everything – Pongal wishes, crafty fun for kids, the best places to check out, deep-rooted traditions, trendy outfits, and, of course, the mouthwatering dishes. Dive in to know it all or just scroll down to the bits you fancy most! Said that let’s get into it, starting with the Dates and Time for Pongal 2024 and the history of Pongal: 

First Day of Pongal: When Pongal Festival 2023?

The four-day festival is celebrated to commemorate the Sun God to bring prosperity and a good harvest into our lives. In the beginning, i.e. The first day of Pongal in Chennai marks the beginning of Uttarayanam and the regional new year. The day is celebrated to exhibit our gratitude towards nature for blessing humans. Let’s find out about the festival in detail.

Pongal Date and Time 2024

As per the Tamil calendar, here are the dates of the Pongal festival:

  • Bhogi Pongal - Sunday, January 14, 2024

  • Thai Pongal - Monday, January 15, 2024

  • Mattu Pongal - Tuesday, January 14, 2024

  • Kaanum Pongal - Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Pongal is celebrated in January as the crops like sugarcane, rice, turmeric etc. are reaped by the farmers. They worship the Sun God, i.e. the God of Light, to bring good health & wealth, peace and prosperity to our lives. Apart from this, the month of Pongal is also known as the month of weddings in South India.

History Behind Pongal

There are several beliefs and conceptions among people behind why Pongal is celebrated. Among them, one of the most popular stories is about Lord Krishna & Lord Indra. According to a legend, it is believed that one day, Lord Indra, “God of Rain” flooded the village of Gokul out of his rage. And in the process of teaching him a lesson, Lord Krishna saves the villagers by lifting the Huge Govardhan Mountain on his finger. This made Lord Indra realize his mistake and seek forgiveness. Later, the day is remarked with worshipping Lord Indra, the God of Rain.

Another belief is related to Lord Shiva. As per the story, one day, Lord Shiva asked his bull “Nandi” to visit the earth and spread the message among people to take a bath daily. However, Nandi misunderstood it and told the people to eat every day and take a bath once a month. This made Lord shiva enraged, and he cursed and Banished Nandi and ordered him to live on earth to help humans reap a harvest so that they could have enough food to consume every day. Quite interesting, right?

Four Days of Pongal 2024

People in Tamilnadu celebrate the festive day with utmost excitement and fun. Let’s take a look at what is the first day of Pongal known as and how this 4-day Pongal celebration takes place on different days. From decorating homes to dressing up nicely and preparing delicious recipes to meeting loved ones, the festival is full of love & excitement. Here are the types of Pongal.

Day 1: First Day of Pongal, i.e. Bhogi Pongal

Do you know that the 1st day of Pongal is known as Bhogi Pongal? On this day, people praise Lord Indra, the God of Rain, to bless the land with rain to yield adequate crops. People clean and decorate their houses, get dressed in new clothes and dispose of their old stuff to signify a new beginning.

People on this day light a bonfire, sing and dance around it to show their love to Lord Indra. The interesting thing is that the bonfire is made from agricultural waste and unnecessary household wood. But when is Bhogi celebrated? This year in 2024, it will be celebrated on January 14.

Day 2: Thai Pongal/ Surya Pongal

After celebrating the first day of Pongal, this second day of the Pongal festival is celebrated as Thai Pongal or Surya Pongal, which is dedicated to Lord Sun. It is believed that the main Pongal is celebrated on this day. People take an early bath in the morning and make a traditional rangoli, known as “Kolam”, at the house's entrance. They wear traditional dresses and worship Lord Sun by offering a pot of milk & boiled rice. Along with this “Sakkararai Pongal”, various other recipes are prepared on this day.

Day 3: Mattu Pongal

The third day of Pongal is devoted to livestock, such as bulls and cows, etc., that have a vital role in agriculture. On this day, cows are adorned with garlands and bells and are worshipped by the farmers.

Day 4: Kaanum Pongal

The first day of Pongal is followed by the fourth day of Pongal, known as Kaanum, dedicated to relaxation and enjoyment. On this day, people meet their relatives & friends and exchange sweets and well-being. Rangoli is made outside the homes to attract happiness and prosperity. Also, on the occasion of this festival, sisters perform the Arti of their brothers and pray for their happiness.

Traditional Pongal Celebration:

Pongal, in its traditional glory, painted a picture of unity, gratitude, and simplicity. It was a celebration where every element, from Kolams to dishes, narrated a story of the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. Let’s explore these traditions one by one:

What is Pongal Kolam?

In every courtyard, women and children showcased their creativity with Pongal Kolam (Rangoli), intricate patterns drawn on the ground using rice flour. These vibrant designs weren't just decorations; they were a warm welcome to prosperity and good fortune.

What is Mattu Pongal Kolam?

On Mattu Pongal, a day dedicated to honoring the cattle, special Mattu Pongal Kolams adorned the entrances. These designs celebrated the indispensable role of cows in agriculture, adding a touch of reverence to the festive decorations.

New Pongal Kolam:

In the spirit of renewal, families embraced new Pongal Kolams, incorporating fresh patterns and colors to symbolize a new beginning. The Kolam-making became a joyful tradition, passed down through generations.

Bhogi Pongal: Let’s Light it Up

Bhogi Pongal, the first day of the festival, marked the discarding of the old and the embracing of the new. Bonfires crackled in the early morning, symbolizing the burning away of negativity, making room for positivity.

Ulavar Pongal: A Day Dedicated to Farmers

Amidst the vibrant celebrations of Pongal, the spotlight shines on Ulavar Pongal, a day dedicated to honoring the farmers. As the morning sun bathes the fields, farmers express their gratitude to the Earth for a bountiful harvest. The day begins with a special prayer for the prosperity of the agricultural endeavors. In a symbolic gesture, freshly harvested grains are offered to the Sun God, thanking nature for its abundance. Ulavar Pongal underscores the deep connection between the tillers of the land and the festival, weaving the agricultural community into the rich fabric of Pongal celebrations.

Pongal Jallikattu:

Pongal Jallikattu, a lively tradition during the Pongal festivities, brings an extra thrill to the celebrations. This age-old practice involves brave participants taming bulls, symbolising the strong bond between humans and animals in rural life. However, it's important to note that this rough game has caused injuries and even fatalities, leading the Tamil Nadu government to ban it. Despite the ban, in some villages, the tradition continues with added safety precautions. It's a reminder of the sport's deep roots and the determination of some communities to preserve their cultural practices while prioritising safety.

What are Pongal Dishes?

1. Sakkarai Pongal: A sweet and delectable dish made with freshly harvested rice, jaggery, ghee, and topped with cashews and raisins. It's a symbol of sweetness and abundance.

2. Ven Pongal: A savory dish made with rice and lentils, cooked to a creamy consistency and seasoned with black pepper, cumin, and ghee. It's often served with a side of coconut chutney and sambar.

How to Celebrate Pongal?

Celebrating Pongal meant more than rituals; it was a holistic experience. Families gathered, shared stories, cooked together, adorned homes with colorful decorations, and participated in traditional activities to honor the harvest.

How to do Pongal Decoration at Home?

Homes adorned with Pongal decorations showcased a riot of colors. Mango leaves, marigold flowers, and sugarcane stalks transformed spaces, creating an ambiance of festivity and joy.

Wish and Spread Joy to your Loved Ones with these Pongal Wishes

1. Wishing you a Pongal filled with the warmth of family, the joy of tradition, and the sweetness of success. Happy Pongal!

2. May the festival of Pongal bring you prosperity, good health, and overflowing happiness. Have a wonderful celebration!

3. As you celebrate Pongal, may your life be filled with abundant blessings and the richness of love. Happy Pongal!

4. Sending you heartfelt wishes for a joyous and bountiful Pongal. May your days ahead be as bright as the festival lights!

5. May the Sun God shower his blessings on you, and may your fields be evergreen. Happy Pongal to you and your family!

6. On this auspicious occasion, may your home be filled with laughter, your heart with contentment, and your life with peace. Happy Pongal!

7. Wishing you a harvest of joy and prosperity on this Pongal. May each day be a celebration of success and happiness.

8. May the festival of Pongal bring you closer to your dreams and fill your life with the warmth of love and joy. Happy Pongal!

9. As you rejoice in the festivities of Pongal, may your heart be light, your days be bright, and your year ahead be delightful. 

10. Happy Pongal! May this festival mark the beginning of a year filled with new opportunities, happiness, and success.

Best Places To Visit During Pongal in 2024

Pongal is the most popular harvest festival celebrated in Tamilnadu with great excitement and devotion, but if you want to experience genuine festive vibes, you can visit any of these below-mentioned places that celebrate Pongal with utmost enthusiasm. Let’s have a look:

1. Madurai

Known as the City of Temples, Madurai is one of the most outstanding places to witness the grand celebration of the Pongal festival. The place holds the true spirit of Pongal in its fields & temples. Various activities are arranged on this day for visitors’ entertainment.

2. Thanjavur

The terrific city is not only known for its world-famous Thanjavur paintings but also for the great celebration of Pongal. The houses are all decorated with Kolams, and the people especially visit the place to witness its Brihadeshwara Temple. Mattu Pongal is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fun.

3. Pollachi

Situated at a distance of 44 km from the city of Coimbatore, Pollachi is a beautiful city with many iconic tourist places to visit. You must visit the Masani Amman temple to witness the grand Pongal celebrations.

Pongal Party: Crafting, Decorating, and Playing Delight!

Dive into the festive spirit with "Pongal Party: Crafting, Decorating, and Playing Delight!" It's the ultimate kids' celebration where creativity meets fun, promising smiles, laughter, and heaps of festive joy! 

Pongal Decoration Themes for Kids:

1. Farmyard Fiesta:

Create a mini-farm setup with paper cutouts of farm animals, haystacks, and miniature crops. Add pops of colour with vibrant flowers.

2. Harvest Haven:

Decorate with faux fruits, vegetables, and sheaves of wheat to celebrate the harvest season. You can create vegetable-themed drawings and hang them as banners.

3. Cultural Kaleidoscope:

Embrace the diversity of South Indian culture by incorporating traditional symbols like kolams, mango leaves, and Pongal pots into the decorations.

Pongal Fun Games for Kids:

1. Pongal Pot Toss:

Set up a game where you try to toss small balls into Pongal pots. Assign different points for various levels of difficulty.

2. Rangoli Relay:

Divide yourselves into teams and have a Rangoli relay race. Provide coloured powders or chalk to everyone to create vibrant designs.

3. Farm Animal Scavenger Hunt:

Hide small toy farm animals around the house or yard. You can go on a scavenger hunt to find them, celebrating the significance of cattle during Pongal.

Pongal Craft Ideas for Kids:

1. Pongal Pot Creations:

Allow everyone to decorate miniature clay pots with paints, markers, and stickers. They can plant small herbs or flowers in these pots.

2. Kolam Art on Paper Plates:

Use paper plates as a canvas for creating colourful Kolam designs. You can experiment with different patterns and colours.

3. Vegetable Stamp Painting:

Cut vegetables like okra or potatoes in half and use them as stamps to create vegetable-themed paintings. This craft connects with the agricultural theme of Pongal.

These fun and easy ideas will engage you in the festive spirit of Pongal while letting your creativity shine.

Summing Up

Now, as you delve into the essence of Pongal, it unveils as a vibrant harvest festival, a heartfelt expression of gratitude to nature and revered deities. Rooted in the agricultural fabric of South India, especially Tamil Nadu, Pongal weaves a tapestry of joyous celebrations and traditional rituals. It's a time to honor the earth's bounty and the interconnectedness of humans and nature. May the warmth of Pongal bring you happiness and prosperity, fostering a spirit of unity and gratitude. Embrace the traditions, savor the flavours, and may your Pongal be a symphony of joy, marking the blessings of a bountiful harvest.

FAQs on Pongal 2024 Dates, Significance and History of Festival

1. When is the Pongal 2024 date?

Pongal arrived with the auspiciousness of the Tamil month Thai, typically falling between January 14th and 17th, marking a four-day festival honoring the harvest season. The date marked the end of winter and the onset of the harvest season. The air buzzed with anticipation as families prepared for the festivities.

2. What is the significance of Pongal?

Pongal holds significance as a harvest festival expressing gratitude to nature and deities for a successful agricultural season. It symbolises abundance, renewal, and the interconnectedness of humans and the environment.

3. What is the history of the Pongal festival?

Pongal's history dates back centuries, rooted in agricultural practices. It's associated with the legend of Lord Shiva and Mount Kailash, emphasising the importance of gratitude for the harvest.

4. Why is Pongal celebrated for four days?

Pongal is a four-day festival, with each day holding distinct significance. The first day, Bhogi, marks the discarding of the old, followed by Thai Pongal, the main day of celebrations. Maatu Pongal honors cattle, and Kaanum Pongal is a day of family gatherings and outings.

5. How do people celebrate Pongal in 2024?

Pongal in 2024 is celebrated with traditional rituals like Kolam drawings, the preparation of Pongal dishes, and honoring cattle. Families come together, exchange Pongal wishes, and participate in various cultural events, emphasising the festival's deep-rooted traditions.

6. What are Pongal Dishes?

The heart of the celebration was the preparation of the iconic Pongal dish. A concoction of freshly harvested rice, jaggery, and milk bubbled in earthen pots, symbolises abundance, prosperity, and the richness of the harvest season.

7. What is Pongal?

Pongal, at its core, is a celebration of gratitude for the bountiful harvest. It's a time to express thanks to the Sun God for a successful agricultural season and to honor the hard work of farmers who toil in the fields.

8. How were the Pongal Holidays celebrated?

As the festival unfolded, the Pongal holidays brought communities together, creating a festive pause in the routine. Families took a break from the daily grind to revel in the joyous spirit of Pongal.

10. About Pongal in 30 words?

Pongal is more than a festival; it's a cultural tapestry woven with traditions, prayers, and the joy of sharing. It's about fostering a connection with nature, expressing gratitude, and savoring the essence of rural life.

11. What is the first day of Pongal known as?

The first day of Pongal is known as Bhogi, marking the beginning of the festive harvest season with the discarding of the old and welcoming the new.