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Happy Pongal 2019: India Celebrates The Harvest Festival, Traditional Bull-Taming Event 'Jallikattu' Begins

PRERNA YADAV | 2
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| January 15 , 2019 , 14:32 IST

Tamil Nadu soaked in tradition as people celebrated Pongal, the harvest festival, on Tuesday. After worldwide protests by the people in the state in 2017 to lift the ban against Jallikattu (the bull-taming sport), was held in the state.

Traditionally Pongal is a festival to thank and appreciate the Sun God for helping in growing crops by providing energy for its growth as the farmers’ livelihood depends on it. The festival is marked by boiling the fist rice of the harvest, which is sanctified by the Sun.

It is a four-day festival which according to the Tamil calendar is usually celebrated from 14 January to 17 January.

Days of the festival:

Bhogi- On Bhogi, people discard old and derelict things and concentrate on new things causing change or transformation. At dawn, people light a bonfire with logs of wood, other solid-fuels and wooden furniture at home that are no longer useful.

The disposal of derelict things is where all old habits, vices, attachment to relations and material things are sacrificed in the sacrificial fire of the knowledge of Rudra, known as the “Rudra Gita Jnana Yajna”. It represents realization, transformation, and purification of the soul by imbibing and inculcating various divine virtues.

Thai Pongal- The main event, also known as Thai Pongal, takes place on the second of the four days. This day coincides with Makara Sankranthi, a winter harvest festival celebrated throughout India. The day marks the start of the Uttarayana, the day of the Indic solstice when the sun purportedly enters the 10th house of the Indian zodiac i.e. Makara or Capricorn.

Maatu Pongal- Maatu Pongal is celebrated the day after Thai Pongal. Tamils regard cattle as sources of wealth for providing dairy products, fertilizer, and labor for plowing and transportation. On Maatu Pongal, cattle are recognized and afforded affectionately. Features of the day include games such as the Jallikkattu and taming bull.

As part of the "Kaka pidi, Kanu pidi" feast women and girls place a feast of colored rice, cooked vegetables, banana and sweet Pongal on ginger or turmeric leaves for crows to share and enjoy. During this time women offer prayers in the hope that brother-sister ties remain forever strong as they do in a crow family.

Kaanum Pongal-  Kaanum Pongal, the fourth day of the festival, marks the end of Pongal festivities for the year. The word kaanum in this context means “to visit.” Many families hold reunions on this day. Brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters by giving gifts as an affirmation of their filial love.

Landlords present gifts of food, clothes, and money to their tenants. Villagers visit relatives and friends while in the cities people flock to beaches and theme parks with their families. Celebrants chew sugar cane and again decorate their houses with kolam. Relatives and friends receive thanks for their assistance supporting the harvest.

Tamil Nadu's Pudukottai district, 13 people were injured on Monday. Four people have, reportedly, suffered major injuries.

Political leaders took to their Twitter accounts and showered wishes to the people of the nation:

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