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Life is a festival

HT Café invites readers to share some of their experiences. Jayanthy Subramaniam on Pongal

art and culture Updated: Jan 15, 2009 19:33 IST

Pongal is a three-day harvest festival in Tamil Nadu which began on Tuesday. The first day is Bhogi Pongal, the Pongal of joy. A fire is lit at home and sweets are exchanged.

The second day is Surya Pongal. People wake up early in the morning and have a traditional bath. Married women add rice to boiled milk and heat it. When it simmers, they shout together, “Pongalo Pongal.”

Pongal means boiled milk. The rice and milk sweet is then offered to the Sun god and Lord Ganesha. A portion of it is also offered to cows after which the family members eat the remaining portion.

It’s Mattu Pongal. Cows and oxen are worshipped. I remember Pongal celebration in Chennai when I was a child. The streets had a festive look for the entire week.

On the fourth day, everyone goes for outings with loads of homemade delicacies. It’s like a picnic.