Pongal is the main harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It is a 4-day long Pongal festival, which falls in the month of Thai according to the Gregorian calendar is usually celebrated in January when the crops like rice, sugarcane, turmeric, etc. are harvested!
Pongal is the only festival in the Indian calendar that derives its name from the dish of sweetened rice. A sweet called Pongal-dish (made of rice, green gram, cardamom, jaggery, raisins & cashew nuts) is prepared as part of the festival and is regarded as an offering to Sun God! This 4-day festival coincides with the Kite Festival (Makara Sankranthi), a winter harvest festival which is celebrated throughout India.
As this year, due to COVID-19 pandemic, you need to take precautions while celebrating this festival in maintaining social distancing and covering your face with mask. Follow the safety guidelines provided by the WHO.
The decor items used during Pongal are usually “Green.” Here green refers to all the things of harvest like banana leaves, mango leaves, sugarcane sticks, etc.
Sugarcane is mainly important for Pongal activities and decorations. This is because it is the main harvest for this season. Apart from that, a stem holding five mango leaves is considered holy by Hindus. These leaves are usually used to decorate the pot in which Pongal is prepared!
4 Days of Pongal Celebrations
Day 1 – Bhogi Pongal Activities
The very first day of pongal festival is called Bhogi Pongal. People worship ‘Lord ‘Indra’ – the ‘God of Clouds and Rains’ and prosperity of their agricultural land. On the same day, some set of rituals of Bhogi Mantalu are also conducted in some rural areas. People clean their houses and discard their old clothes and unwanted goods on fire, which symbolizes the end of old things and beginning of new. On this day the girls dance and sing songs around the bonfire, in the name of gods.
Day 2 – Perum or Surya Pongal
The second day of Pongal festival is called the Perum Pongal or Surya Pongal. This is the most important day of all the four days where Surya is worshiped. On this day people wake up early and make the beautiful Kolam designs at their home entrances and verandahs. The day is celebrated with family and friends with Pongal dish in traditional earthen pot in an open space in a view of sun.
You can shop online this hand-crafted Sun chakra metal wall hanging (in bronze) to decorate your walls on this Pongal. Devoting your room to the Lord Sun.
Day 3 – Mattu Pongal
The third day of pongal festival is called the Mattu Pongal, where the animals involved with the agricultural community like cows, bulls, and other farm animals are worshiped. They are bathed, cleansed, massaged and dressed in vibrant coloured attires made especially for them.
Day 4 – Kanum or Thiruvalluvar Pongal
The fourth day of pongal festival is called the Kanum or Thiruvalluvar Pongal. On this last day, people visit their friends and relatives. Puja is performed by a woman of the house praying for a well-being and prosperity of their brothers. An interesting custom is to leave some cooked rice on banana leaves for the birds to feast on!
If you look at the pongal festival from a very practical point of view, you will find that it has a tremendous relevance due to the fact that the Sun, Mother Earth and cattle are worshiped. Tamil Nadu is a state that is lacking any perennial water resource and so people invoke the blessings of a sun and rain gods asking for their kindness!
Apart from these traditional festival and celebrations, there are several other ways to decorate your own home for Pongal. Check out some ideas to liven up your home with the spirit of this Harvest Festival!
The main attraction of the Pongal festival is the kitchen or the front yard/backyard. The pot is decorated and all the decorations surround this Pongal pot. Many kolam designs are made around the pot and the cooking fire.
Pongal Decoration Ideas
01. The Painted Pot
Pongal is usually cooked in an earthen pot as shown in the figure. The pot is usually painted with different coloured designs to make your Pongal decoration all way more attractive!
02. The Pongal Feast
The feast of Pongal is spread out on banana leaves. See how you can a traditional art of serving food.
03. Cooking the Pongal
It is a place where you cook the Pongal with all the decoration around the area.
You can cook this tasty Pongal dish in an earthen pot and also in brass vessel that are easily available on amazon.
04. Sugar Cane (Long) Sticks
To complete the Pongal decoration, you need to have a long sugarcane sticks. Choose the ones with the leaves on top for some frills!
05. The Holy Cow
The 4 days of Pongal festival involves worshiping cow which is the holy to Hindus. So, you can make some innovative kolam (rangoli) designs that looks like a cow!
06. Innovative Rangoli – Kolam Designs
Every homemaker knows how to make Kolam in Tamil Nadu. So, if you can come up with some innovative designs, you can outshine your neighbours!
07. Indoor Pongal
If you are living in a city and stays in an apartment, then brewing Pongal in your backyard may be a troublesome. For you, the best option is the indoor Pongal as shown in figure.
08. String Lights
Apart from these traditional pongal decorations, you can also brighten up or decorate your house with the electric lights.
09. Pongal Wall Stickers
You can create a festive look in your home by just adding stickers representing Pongal on your wall.
10. Hang Metal Bells
Bell is an important part of the indian room prayers. Using bells in your home décor portrays the traditional flavour. And, yes it an interesting feature to add in your home decor.
11. Glass Lanterns
You can highlight you room with intricately designed glass lanterns. Clear shaded glass lanterns make your home décor spectacular with additional lighting arrangements. You can select some shade of colour to match you colour scheme.
12. Add Silver Shimmer
You can add some silver accessories to your home decor. An elegant silverware gives the decoration a touch of royalty!
For various creative vase ideas, you may also like blog written on DIY Vase Ideas For Your Home Decor! Especially for your dining table, you can add some attractive silver bowl set as shown in figure.
Hope the above ideas will really help you in decorating your house and celebrate all Pongal activities in a ritual manner! Be safe amid this COVID -19 pandemic.
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