Pongal Festival of Tamil Nadu
The "PONGAL", unique Festival for Tamils.
Pongal is the great festival for Tamils in India. Pongal indicate the end of the usual farming season, giving farmers a break from their boring routine. This week long celebrations are not only unique, also traditional. In fact, four festivals are celebrated in Tamil Nadu for four successive days in that week. It is observed by the Tamils by offering boiled rice in milk to propitiate the Sun God. This Pongal food consists of sugar cane and sugar candy forms are the main offering to the Sun God.
It is begins with Bogi, next day is Pongal and another day is Mattu Pongal. The fourth day is Kanum Pongal or Thiruvalluvar day.
Giving thanks to God
The Tamil month of MARGAZHI, parallel mostly with December and running on to the 12th January, is measured by the Tamil People to be a Detrimental month. In ancient times, it was the month in which all kinds of outbreaks like cholera, fever and smallpox are theoretical to occur. That is why people of Tamil Nadu Calls this month as unhealthful and non promising month. The last day of this Tamil month is pragmatic as a festive day by the Tamilians in India in thanking to the God that the worst month has ended.
The feast is called the BOGI PANDIGAI. This feast is honor of Indira, the king of Heavens, the lord of the clouds, rain etc. Bogi is a feast of delight on account of relief from the catastrophic month of Margazhi. The Bogi is also the day of the year in which all the old utensils of house holds are replaced by new ones.
Pongal - Thai Pongal
Pongal is a Tamil term that Originally related to a particular type of rice preparation made for the Thai Pongal festival, to entreat the benedictions of God and Gods for a plentiful harvest year.
Pongal rice, usually sweet was consecrated contribution cooked at the temple or in a house amid rich celebrations.
To this day, in houses of Tamil Nadu, this tradition go on, even if now Pongal also provides to an assortment of rice dishes for a range of events.
For all Pongal prescriptions, still, cow's milk is applied.
Offerings and prayer
PONGAL is the fiesta which is pragmatic on the first day of the Tamil month THAI (next to the month of Margazhi). It is a New Year day astronomically and begins approximately 13th January every year. This Pongal festival is observed by the Tamils by submission boiled rice in milk to propitiate the Sun God. So the festival is called Pongal, which in means boiled rice. Everything sweet is supposed to please the Sun-God. So rice with sugar and milk is cooked on this day in every Tamil house hold. Rich men observe this day a commendable one for making charitable donations.
The season for marriages in Tamil family circles also originates on this day and lasts for six months. The brides for the year get their presents on the Pongal day and these are called Pongal Seer. They consists generally of new cloths, one or two ornaments and vessels and also sugar canes, oil, gee etc. The Pongal must be cooked in a new pot.
The day after the Pongal is called the MATTU PONGAL feast, the feast in admiration of the cattle. On this day all the cows, bullocks, buffaloes and goats in the house hold are well washed and festooned. They are also worshiped, and cooked rice (Pongal) is given to them. Towards evening decorates of aloe fiber and cloths containing coins are tied to the horns of bullocks and cows and the animals are driven through the streets with drums and music. This formal procedure is not much observed in the cities and towns. Only in villagers observed these practice.
Kanum Pongal or THIRUVALLUVAR DAY
The celebrations continues...
Next day to the Mattupongal there comes the KANUMPONGAL. This celebration is nothing but spending time with family in some outer places. Visiting beaches, tourist spots, or relative houses, elderly people to get their blessings, temples for prayers etc.
This day is also called as THIRUVALLUVAR DAY. In remembrance of the Great saint, poet Thiruvalluvar Government of Tamil Nadu announced this day as Thiruvalluvar Day
From this day onwards the Jallikattu begins in various places.
Jallikattu - The Great Bull Fight.
In the villages, especially around Madurai, Trichy, Tirunelveli are the places for this Jallikattu-the Bull fight. Alanganallur near Madurai is familiar far Jallikattu and tourist from international destinations are visiting to see the unique game of Tamils. In olden days the bride chooses a person as her husband who has safely untied and brought to her the cloth tied to the horn of the fiercest bull.
The bulls are let loose with their horns carrying valuables amidst the din of drums and loud music which terrify and bewilder them. They run madly about and are purposely excited by the crowd. A young hero will declare that he will run after the bull and recover the valuables tied to its horn, and he does so often in a dexterous manner.. This is some time risky pursuit. These games are take place on a grand scale in villages. Accidents are very common but they are not allowed to interfere with the Pongal Festivity.
Jallikattu Vid - at Karungulam, Near Trichy
This Year: so far 1 died, 150 hurt in Jallikattu
A 28 year old famer was gored to death and 27 others sustained injuries at the Jallikattu held as part of the Pongal Celebrations at BUDALUR in Thanjavur District on Jan 16th 09. At the famous Palamedu Jallikattu, over 75 were injured, four of them critically, trying to ride the humps of ferocious bulls as they charged out of their enclosure in to the specially prepared arena, with spectators including several foreigners for the eagerly awaited annual show. Also, 50 young men were hurt, 20 of them badly, while trying to tame the bulls at the Jallikattu in Suriyur near Trichy. There are so many Jallikattu centers to be conducted in various places of Tamil Nadu.
No more Jallikattu In Tamil Nadu
The Supreme Court of India, on 30th Jan, 09 put the brakes on the ancient, traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu as part of Pongal Celebrations, saying guidelines to prevent cruelty against animals have been violated. A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said and directed the District Collectors in the state "not to give any more permission" for holding Jallikattu.
After continues fight against court order, the tamil jallikattu activists got permission from the court to conduct the jallikattu with some special guidance.
The opinion of most intellectuals and Tamil activists on Jallikattu is that this ancient sport is enjoys the iconic staus that should be approved in a world where masses are losing their cultural identity.
As per the classical texts, Jallikattu has survived for at least 2000 years. No one has the right to interrupt the cultural traditions, but appends that the sport should be persevered in a supervised manner.
The court interruption commanding the ban in the first place was needless and a case of intervention without knowing the ground factual basis.
Response from Tamils to Jallikattu ban
The interim ban on the traditional Tamil sport Jallikattu imposed by the top-court has drawn flak from the villagers, organizers and lovers of the sport.
The verdict has hurt the sentiments of Tamils. Jallikattu is not only a sport but also part of the temple festivals in the State. It is associated with the tradition and religious beliefs in this part of the country.
At the Mariamman Temple in Thennalur in Pudukottai Dt., has arranged for the event on Feb 11 as part of its temple festival. Its Trustee T.Senthil Kumar said, "The sport is conducted in keeping with the belief of villagers. If it is not held, it will invite the wrath of the village deities. So we will go ahead with the event at any cost.