Pongal is a major festival celebrated in South India. The real meaning of Pongal is to boil. By the way, it also means the new year. Pongal is the name of the prasad offered to the sun by boiling jaggery and rice. This festival, which lasts for four days, has four pongals. Totally dedicated to nature, this festival is being celebrated since the early times after harvesting of crops.
The practice of praying for a long life by sisters for brothers like Bhaiya Dooj is just like the festivals celebrated in North India, like Bhaiya Dooj, by taking out the rice of new paddy and making it as an offering, cleaning the oxen and horses. It is like the worship of Chhath, Bhaiya Dooj, and Govardhan.
The four types of Pongal are as follows – Badhi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattoo Pongal, and Kanya Pongal. Indra Dev is worshiped in Bhogi Pongal on the first day. Indra dev is also known as Bhogi. People worship and worship Indradev on the first day of Pongal for rain and good harvest.
The second worship of Pongal is in the form of Surya Puja. In this, put new rice, moong dal, and jaggery in new utensils and worship them with sugarcane, ginger etc. on banana leaves. This Prasad offered to the Sun is made in the light of the Sun itself. The third day is celebrated as Mattu Pongal.
Mattu is actually worshiped on Nandi i.e. the bull of Shiva. It is said that once Nandi, one of the main gurus of Shiva, had made a mistake, for that mistake, Bholenath asked him to become an ox and help humans on earth. This festival of Pongal is still celebrated in memory of him.
The fourth Pongal is Kanya Pongal which was celebrated with great pomp in a Kali temple here. Only women participate in it. In ancient times, this festival was celebrated as Dravida Shasya Utsav.
The inscription found in the temple at Tiruvallur suggests that Kilutunga used to donate land and temples to the poor on the occasion of King Pongal. On this occasion, there was a practice of daring war with dance ceremony and bull. The most powerful person at that time was the girl who chose her husband by putting varmala on this day.
Story of Pongal (Why Pongal is celebrated?): Madurai’s husband and wife are associated with Kannagi and Kovalan. Once, at the behest of Kannagi, Kovalan went to the goldsmith to sell Payal. The goldsmith tells Raja that kovalan who has come to sell Payal is similar to Rani’s stolen Payal.
The king sentenced Kovalan to the gallows without any investigation for this crime. Enraged by this, Kannagi did a great penance to Shiva and asked him the boon to destroy the king as well as his kingdom.
When the people of the Kingdom came to know of this, the kingdoms women there worshiped Kali Mata on the banks of the river Killiyar. Prayed to arouse mercy in Kannagi to protect the life and kingdom of his king.
Mata Kali, happy with the fast of women, awakened a sense of compassion in Kannagi and protected the king and the kingdom. Since then, this festival has been celebrated with great pomp in the Kali temple. In this way, the four-day Pongal ends.