Following the celebrations for Christmas and the New Year, attention is now on Thai Pongal, a harvest festival observed during the first four days of the Tamil-Hindu month of Thai. Sri Lanka is a country where many different ethnicities live in harmony with one another, and each has its own distinctive cultural festivities that enrich the country’s cultural fabric with color and passion.
“Thai Pongal,” sometimes referred to as “Makar Sankranthi,” is a unique occasion when the affluent, the poor, the peasants, and the city dwellers give gratitude and worship the sun, the ground, the animals, and their border with fervor, pleasure, and delight.
Thai Pongal is the first Hindu festival of the year for Tamil people all over the world. It has a Sun God dedication. Farmers honor the Sun and rejoice in the annual crop they have produced. Thai Pongal is often observed by Sri Lankans over the course of two days, with the Pongal falling on the first day and the Mattu Pongal on the second. Everyone celebrates this ancient harvest festival, including Hindus, Tamils, and non-Hindus. Everywhere there are Tamil communities is where it is observed.
The Tamil term “Thai” designates the tenth month of the Tamil calendar, while “pongu” describes the process of boiling water over a pot of rice. An inscription at the Veera Raghava temple, which is in Tiruvallur in Chennai and is devoted to the Hindu god Vishnu, depicts the Pongal festival. The inscription, which is attributed to the Chola King Kulathunga I (1070–1122 CE), relates how the temple was given land to hold its yearly Pongal celebrations. The Shiva bhakti text from the ninth century is similar. The celebration is extensively described in Manikkavachakar’s Tiruvembaval.
Sanskrit and Tamil tradition expert Andrea Gutierrez asserts that the history of the Pongal meal in a celebratory and religious setting dates back to at least the Chola era. Various spellings of it may be found in a wide variety of writings and inscriptions. Early documents refer to it as ponakam, tiruponakam, ponkal, and other names of a similar kind. Detailed recipes that are substantially the same as the Pongal recipes of the current age can be found in some of the most significant Hindu temple inscriptions from the Chola Dynasty through the Vijayanagara Empire eras, with differences in spices and relative amounts of ingredients. Pongal is the name of the sweetened rice dish that is traditionally eaten on this day and is cooked with milk and jaggery.
Wish all celebrating communities, that may this Pongal shower you with all kinds of prosperity and happiness!!! Happy Pongal!!
Written by : Rtr. Koushika Umesh