Pongal 2022: Date, Significance, Story behind festival of Pongal

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Pongal 2022 is being observed from 13th to 16th January 2022. It is a 4-day long harvest festival celebrated at broad level in South India. However, there are many people who are observing Pongal on only one day on 14 January 2022.

Pongal (also known as Thai or Tai Pongal) is a harvest festival of Tamil Nadu (and some parts of Kerala) that is celebrated every year in the month of January. This festival is generally celebrated for three to four days which different practices and festivities conducted on each day of the festival. The most significant thing about this festival is the traditional Pongal dish after which the festival is named in fact. Other than India, the festival of Pongal is celebrated by Tamil people residing in Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, Singapore, United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Complete details about Pongal 2022 like days of the festival, traditional dish made, story behind it, etc are provided in this post.

Date of Pongal 2022

As per the Gregorian calendar, the festival of Pongal will be celebrated from 13th January 2022 to 16th January 2022. However, many people observe Pongal only on one day and that is 14th January 2022 and is the main festive day of this festival. It is the first day of the Tamil calendar month Tai that coincides with Makar Sankranti festival.

Significance of Pongal festival 2022

Pongal is a harvest festival that coincides with Makar Sankranti, another festival celebrated to harvesting of crops. Just like Makar Sankranti, the day of Pongal is dedicated to the God Sun and prayers are offered to seek His blessings. It is believed that getting blessings from the Sun leads to a good harvest and prosperity and happiness thrives in lives of people.

Four days of Pongal festival

The festival of Pongal is celebrated for around 4 days with each day known as different name and each day having its own practice and significance. These are Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kanum Pongal.

  1. Bhogi Pongal- The festival of Pongal starts on the day known as Bhogi Pongal. Bhogi Pongal also marks the last day of the Tamil month Marghazi. To celebrate this day, people gather together, light a bonfire and burn old and discarded items from their homes.
  2. Surya Pongal- Second day of the Pongal festival is known as Surya Pongal and it is the main festive day of Pongal. This day is dedicated to the god Surya and He is prayed for bringing happiness and prosperity into lives of people. Surya Pongal is also the first day of the Tamil month Tai and coincides with Makar Sankranti. On this day, people decorate their homes with banana and mango leaves and colored rice flour.
  3. Mattu Pongal- Third day of the festival is Mattu Pongal and cattle are fed and worshiped on this day. Mattu itself means cow or cattle and people believe that since they provide us with many useful products, they must be worshiped like gods. On this day, cattle are decorated with flower garlands or their horns are painted. Special meals are prepared and fed to the cattle as well. Jallikattu, a famous cattle race is also conducted on the day of Mattu Pongal.
  4. Kanum Pongal- Known also as Kanu Pongal, Kanum Pongal marks the end of Pongal festival. It is a day of social gathering and strengthening bonds between people. On this day, people visit their friends and families and many social events are also organized by different communities.

Story behind festival of Pongal

There are two stories related to Pongal- one such story is related to Lord Krishna and another is related to Lord Shiva.

As per the legends, in His childhood, Lord Krishna noticed the arrogant nature of Lord Indra and asked the people of Gokul to stop worshiping him. This infuriated Indra and he started pouring heavy rains in the Gokula village for three days. Lord Krishna then lifted the Govardhan parvat on His little finger and saved all the villagers. This made Indra see the power of Krishna and he relaized his mistake. Finally he stopped the rain and asked Krishna for His forgiveness.

Also check- Hindu calendar 2022

According to the legends, Lord Shiva once asked His bull Nandi to go on earth and tell people to eat only once a month and have an oil bath everyday. Mistakenly, nandi spraed the opposite teaching and asked people to eat daily and oil bathe once a month. This infuriated Shiva and He told Nandi to remain on Earth to help human reap their harvest so that they have enough food to eat daily.

Traditional Pongal Dish

The most significant thing about Pongal is the traditional dish also known as Pongal. It is prepared by boiling rice in milk and jaggery and adding extra condiments as required. Pongal is cooked in a clay pot and decorated with flowers and leaves. Pongal is first offered to the Gods, followed by the cattle (mainly cow) and is then distributed among other people. Many people make this dish at home and it is also prepared in temples and distributed as prasadam.

Also check- Holidays in India


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