HAPPY PONGALHope this guide will be useful and informative for everyone. Scroll down to the end of this post for recipe links.
This series of festival is known as harvest festival. Farmers pray Indra & Sun for rain and bountiful yield.
Harvest of turmeric before the festival Bhogi
SIGNIFICANCE OF BHOGI:
The first festival, Bhogi, is celebrated on the last day of the month of Margazhi. The devata Indra is worshipped on Bhogi day.
THINGS DONE PRIOR TO BHOGI:
The houses are cleaned up , painted and kolams are drawn in the frontyard. On this day, people decorate their homes. Old and unwanted things are burnt.
MENU FOR BHOGI:
Poli is made, alongwith the general pandigai menu .
SIGNIFICANCE OF PONGAL:
Pongal or Thai Pongal is also called Makara Sankaranthi, since it is celebrated on the first day of Thai when the Sun enters the Makara Rasi. This period is referred to as Uttarayana Punyakalam and is considered auspicious. Pongal paanai decorated with the harvested turmeric is used for making the Pongal on the auspicious time.
The Sun God is worshipped on the Pongal day. Also this 3 day festival is for the family unity. So, our elders make a kootu with all vegetables and pray the GOD for the family unity.
We are not supposed to grind in traditional "ammi" and "kallural"(mortar and pestle), not asked for the reasons though.
THINGS TO BE ARRANGED BEFORE:
KOLAM IN THE FRONTYARD.(This Kolam was drawn by my friend, Radhika).
The "pongal panai" is to be decorated with "Tiruman, Srichoornam"& fresh turmeric harvested, a piece of sugarcane, flowers & plantain, tied to a rope.
Neivedhyam to the GOD.
THE MENU FOR PONGAL:
Sarkarai (sweet) pongal (made in vengala panai), Sankaranthi kootu, pongakkuzhambu alongwith general pandigai menu.
SIGNIFICANCE OF KANU:
Kanu pandigai is the 3rd day of the pongal pandigai series. This falls on the mattu pongal day. This day is an important festival for the unity of brothers and sisters. Sisters pray for the welfare of their brothers. Gifts are exchanged as a mark of their unity.Cattle are decorated and jallikattu race is conducted in villages.
THINGS TO BE ARRANGED BEFORE:
Kolam on the frontyard
A piece of fresh turmeric
Prepare red rice and yellow rice with leftover rice, using turmeric and kumkum.
Left over sweet pongal
Left over curd rice
A kolam on the terrace
Arathi with turmeric powder and chunam
PRACTICES FOLLOWED ON KANU DAY:
In the early morning, fresh turmeric is marked on the forehead of ladies and unmarried girls, by the gents and elders seeking their blessings for "sowmangalyam" and " to get a good husband" respectively.
Red rice and yellow rice are prepared using turmeric and kumkum. The turmeric leaves are arranged on a kolam on the terrace and "pidis" (small balls) made out of the leftover sarkarai pongal & curd rice of the previous day + red rice and yellow rice are arranged on the leaves chanting "KAAKKAA PIDI VECHAEN, KANU PIDI VECHAEN, KAAKKAIKKUM KURUVIKKUM KALYANAM, KAAKAA KOOTAM KALANJALUM, ENGA KOOTTAM KALAYAAMA IRUKKANUM'' (meaning everyone in the family should be united) and it is offered alongwith the tamboolam and sugarcane to the crows and Sun God. Finally, arati is performed for the brothers with turmeric water& limestone and this water is poured on the kolam in front of the house.
NEIVEDHYAMS FOR KANU PANDIGAI:
RASAM IS NOT MADE ON THIS DAY.
Variety rice(i.e.) coconut rice, lemon rice, puliyodharai, curd rice, payasam and aviyal are made alongwith poricha appalam or vadaam.
GENERAL PANDIGAI MENU
SWEET PONGAL(SARKARAI PONGAL)
CURD RICE (BAHALA BHATH)
FRIED APPALAM OR VADAAM