Pongal

Essay on Is Pongal a Religious Festival

Festivals are celebrations that represent culture, tradition, or religious significance. The people commemorate every kind of happiness and significant day in form of festivals. India is a nation that harvests people of different religions. Every religion celebrates numerous festivals that have and signify their religious importance. People from ancient times love to celebrate every important day and that becomes a festival which is carried on from one generation to another.

Short and Long Essay on Is Pongal a Religious Festival

I have tried my best to put down the best information and facts about Pongal in the essay below. It will be helpful in providing elaborate information on the topic to students and readers.

Short Essay on Is Pongal a Religious Festival (250 words)

Introduction

Pongal is an important Hindu festival that is observed in South India. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy by the people of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Pondicherry. It is stated as the harvest festival and is celebrated in the mid of January month.

The appropriate meaning of Pongal is “boiling over”. The festival of Pongal is a four days festivity. The days are named Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal, and Kanum Pongal. Every four days of the Pongal celebration has an important significance. The culture and tradition of the people of south India are best represented in this festivity.

Rituals of Pongal Celebration

The houses are cleaned and decorated by the people before the onset of Pongal. They celebrate the harvest festival Pongal with great fervor. The sweet dish called ‘Pongal’ that is cooked by women in decorated earthen pots is an important tradition of this festival. It is prepared by the newly harvested rice, milk, jaggery, and spices. The dish is first offered to the Surya God and then consumed by people.

The people worship natural forces like wind, sun, rain, and thanks for the good harvest of crops. The cattle are also worshipped by the people on the third day of the Pongal celebration. People wish each other and enjoy the sweet dish Pongal with their family and friends. The younger members of the family take blessings by touching the feet of their elders and receive gifts in return.

Conclusion

The main motive behind celebrating the festival of Pongal is to pay gratitude to God for the good harvest of crops. They also ask for a blessing from God to continue the same in the future too. Thus it will be more appropriate to state the festival of Pongal as a harvest festival rather than saying it a religious festival.

Long Essay on Is Pongal a Religious or Seasonal Festival (1050 Words)

Introduction

India is an agricultural country. Most of the people in the nation depend on agriculture to earn their living and expenditures. Farmers consider the fields, yield of crops, and cattle as their real wealth. People celebrate the good harvest of crops in form of festivals. They express their gratitude and also worship the forces of nature like the sun, wind, water, and soil. Pongal is observed as a fest that is celebrated by the people of a particular region to pay gratitude to God for the good harvest of the crops in the year.

What is Pongal?

When we spell the world Pongal, it might happen that maximum people cannot recognize the festival. Many would have heard the name for the first time. It is because this festival is celebrated by the people of south India. The word Pongal stands for ‘Boil’.

Pongal is a festival that is celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu, a south-Indian state. This festival is associated with Makar Sankranti. The people of different states celebrating Makar Sankranti worship Sun God and the same is observed in Pongal. The difference lies in the rituals, traditions, and way of celebrating the festival. The festival Pongal is celebrated in the mid of January that is regarded as the month of harvest i.e. 14th or 15th of January. Rain, Sun, cattle that are regarded as essential for farming practices are worshipped at this festival.

Significance and Specialty of this Festival

The festival does not have any religious significance. It is celebrated by the people to thank God and nature for giving the good yield of crops and worship for the blessing for the future harvest. This festival is basically celebrated in the harvesting season of the crops like rice, sugarcane, etc. This day is determined by the sun entering into Capricorn Zodiac. Sun starts marching towards the Northern hemisphere which is a sign of changing the duration of day and night and gradually season.

A sweet delicacy “Pongal dish” which is made up of milk, newly harvested rice and Jaggery is the most significant tradition on this occasion. These constituents are boiled together and cooked. Dry fruits, cardamom seeds, flavoring agents can be added according to the choice. A beautiful scene of the community bond can be seen in the festival. Women in certain areas cook this sweet dish together near the temple. The dish is cooked in earthen pots under the sun. It is offered to God after being cooked and later distributed as Prasad among the people.

Commemoration of Pongal in Different Ways (Types of Pongal Festival)

The festival Pongal involves four days of festivity. Each day of the festival has its own relevance. The days along with their importance and celebration are mentioned below:

Day 1 : Boghi Pongal

  • It represents the beginning of the festival. People clean and decorate their houses before the arrival of the festival.
  • People on this day worship God Indra to thank and request to keep enriched with blessings. Indra is considered to be the god of rains and rain is very important for the growth and good yield of the crops.
  • The old and unwanted materials are discarded and burnt on this day. People lit the bonfire and throw the materials in the fire and perform a dance around it. The bonfire help in keeping the temperature warm as January is a colder month.

Day 2 : Surya Pongal

  • It is the second day of the festival and is devoted to God Surya.
  • The sweet Pongal dish is prepared on this day and the sweet dish is first offered to Surya Dev.
  • The dish is prepared using earthen pots decorated with turmeric and flowers and is made in the open sun.
  • The women sing songs in praise of God and shout Pongalo-Pongal, when the rice boils that symbolizes a rich harvest in the future.

Day 3 : Mattu Pongal

  • The third day of the festival is dedicated to the cow, bullocks, and cattle.
  • People express their gratitude to the cattle for their help in getting a good harvest. Secondly for providing milk, fertilizer, transport, etc.
  • The animals are decorated with flowers and are fed with fruits and meals after worshipping them.

Day 4 : Kanum Pongal

  • The ending of the festival is marked by Kanum Pongal, Kanum means visiting.
  • People visit and their relatives and close ones to wish each other. Children visit their relatives to greet their elders with respect and receive their blessings.
  • People meet in groups to wish each other; exchange gifts and enjoy the festivity.
  • The leftover Pongal dish is placed outside the house on the turmeric leaf. It is kept to feed the birds and this ritual is termed as ‘Kanu Pidi’. Girls pray for the well-being of their brothers and receive gifts from brothers which represent a bond of love and care between brothers and sisters.

Is Pongal a Religious Festival?

A religious festival is one that posses a spiritual significance and is based on religion. Pongal is popularly known as the harvest festival. It also marks the change of season and duration of day and night, so is termed as the seasonal festival and celebrated in a particular region by Tamil people of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India. Whereas, religious festivals are related to a particular religion and have some story or reason behind their celebration.

Pongal does not have such mythological beliefs or stories related to its celebration. It is celebrated by the people to express their thanks to God and nature for benefitting from a good harvest. Seasonal festivals are celebrated in a particular region to mark the starting of a new season or harvest of the crops. It will be appropriate to mention Pongal as a seasonal festival rather than stating it as a religious festival.

Conclusion

Pongal is the festival that pays importance to our farmers. The intense labour of the farmers along with the blessing of nature and God gives a good result in form of higher productivity of grains. It is not possible without farmers who are the provider of food to the entire nation. The festival brings prosperity, positivity, joy, happiness, and a feeling of togetherness. The culture and tradition are purely depicted in the rituals performed by the people of south India.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 Who celebrates Pongal?

Ans. Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu in south-India.

Q.2 Who do people worship in Pongal?

Ans. God Indra, Sun God, and cattle are worshipped by the people during the three days of Pongal festivity.

Q.3 Is Pongal a religious festival?

Ans. No, it is a harvest festival celebrated by the people of South India.

Q.4 Which sweet delicacy is prepared on Pongal?

Ans. The traditional ‘Pongal Dish’ made from the harvested rice, milk, and sugarcane is the sweet delicacy prepared on Pongal.

Q.5 What does Bhogi fire represent in Bhogi Pongal?

Ans. The old non-useful household items are burned in Bhogi fire which represents the end of negativity with a new spirit for life.

Q.6 What is Jallikattu?

Ans. It is a bull sport organized during the harvest festival, that involves the running of the bull in the sports ground and people participating in the festival try to stop the bull by grabbing the hump of a bull.