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Surya Pongal Festival, Makar Sankranti Festival

The second day of ‘Pongal’ is known as ‘Surya Pongal’ dedicated to Sun God. Actual celebration commences on this day that is the first day of Tamil month ‘Thai’. Granaries are full, sun shines brightly, trees are in full bloom and birds sing so people are happy. Their happiness is reflected in the colourful and joyous celebrations of ‘Pongal’ festival.

Pooja Preparation:
Women wake up early in the morning. They design elaborate ‘Kolams’ on the ground in front of the doorways of their homes. These are made with coloured rice paste carefully positioned on the floor using one’s hand. Women take several hours before finishing the ‘Kolams’. Harvested new rice is cooked in pots till it overflows giving rise to meaning of ‘Pongal’. Overflowing of rice is a joyous occasion so children and adults shout ‘Pongal-o-Pongal’!

‘Surya Pongal’ Pooja Process:
The Sun God is offered boiled milk and jaggery. A plank is placed on the ground and a large image of the Sun God is sketched on it. In addition, Kolam designs are drawn around it. The Sun God drawn in the centre of the plank is a large figure of the Sun God with his effulgent rays. The pooja offered to the Sun God begins after the auspicious moment of the birth of the new month ‘Thai’. Prayers are offered to the Sun God to seek his blessings.

The Sun God is honoured, given pride of place during ‘Pongal’. In the villages people gather in the courtyard and prepare dish ‘Pongal’ in the open. A pot, decorated with flowers, sugarcane pieces, turmeric plant etc, is used for boiling the rice known as dish ‘Pongal’. The very first offering is made to the Sun God.Makar Sankranti

Surya ‘Pongal’ Delicacies:
Newly harvested rice is boiled over and cooked as dish called ‘Pongal’. This common preparation has rice, dhal and sugar. Since the colour is ven or white, this ‘Pongal’ variety is known as ‘Venn Pongal’. People usually take ‘Venn Pongal’ with brinjal [eggplant], ‘sambar’ [stew], ‘vadai’,’ idli’ and other spicy side dishes. There is another variety called ‘chakrai’ meaning sweet ‘Pongal’ that is made with dhal and jaggery (sweet).

In addition, sweets, puddings, cooked rice or ‘Sarkarai Pongal’ and others are prepared on this day. On all three days namely ‘Bhogi’ or ‘Bogi, ‘Pongal’ and ‘Maattu Pongal’ women adorn the entrance of their homes with colourful ‘Kolams’. These are usually large patterns of decorated, colourful flowers made of rice powders and red mud. These designs draw crowds from the entire street.

Surya Pongal Festival, Makar Sankranti Festival

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