Pongal is also known regionally as Thai Pongal. As it is falls in the month of Thai in the Tamil regional calendar, it is called as Thai Pongal. In the Tamil calendar, the first day of the tenth month of Thai is observed as Thai Pongal. As per the Georgian calendar, it falls on 14 January. The festivity is observed for 4 days long.
This festival is observed by the Tamilians or Tamil people who are living in Tamil Nadu in India, the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry and Sri Lanka. The significance of this festival is a Harvest Festival or thanksgiving festival. People particularly the agricultural communities thank the Lord Sun for providing them with agricultural abundance.
Pongal is marked with active celebration, gift-giving, feasting and visiting homes. This festival is celebrated at the end of the harvest season in South India. It happens in Uttarayana which means the Sun’s movement from its southernmost limit to northward journey. This festival largely coincides with the Makara Sankranthi festival that is celebrated in Northern India as the harvest festival in the winter season. In the Gregorian calendar, this 4 day festival is marked from January 13–16.
The term Pongal in Tamil language means “Boiling over” of rice and milk during the month of Thai. When the boiling happens, people say Pongaloo Pongal with joy and merriment. A quote based on Pongal festival is “Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum” which means “the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities”. People keep all the personal and professional hope for the month of Thai for a bright future and better career.
The Sun god is offered the first grain of the good harvest by the farmers on the festive day of Pongal. People decorate their homes and farm houses with mango leaves and banana leaves. Women make decorative patterns drawn with rice flour on the floors and in front of the house doors.