India is well known throughout the world for being home to some of the world’s most beautiful natural landmarks, as well as its deep ties in tradition. As there are many different religions and cultures throughout India, there are many festivals and celebrations that take place during the year from region to region, one of them being Pongal. It is a time for gathering with loved ones and friends, as well as gift-exchanging to strengthen social ties.
Tamil communities around the world celebrate Pongal, which is a time to express appreciation to the Sun, Mother Nature, and all the farm animals who contributed to a bountiful harvest.
Celebrated over four days, Pongal also marks the beginning of the Tamil month called Thai, which is considered an auspicious month. It usually falls on the 14th or 15th of January each year.
Pongal in Australia:
In the six states of Australia, which has a population of over 18 million, there are roughly 30,000 Tamil people, with New South Wales and Victoria having the highest numbers of Tamil residents.
There are more than 10 Hindu temples scattered throughout the states of Australia, meaning Tamils living away from home can still commemorate the Pongal festival, albeit in a less traditional way than those in India.
The Pongal Festival of 2023 in Australia will begin on 15th of January 2023 and end on 18th of January 2023 .
In India, it will be held from 14th January 2023 to 17th January 2023.
The Pongal 2023 Holidays Calendar according to Indian dates:
- Day 1: Bhogi Pongal (14th January 2023)
Since Lord Indra, the ultimate deity, is the God of clouds and rains, Bhogi Pongal is dedicated to the Lord of the Rain Indra for the prosperity of their agricultural land.
In some rural regions, Bhogi Mantalu ceremonies are also carried out on the same day. Those who participate express their appreciation to Lord Indra by dancing and chanting hymns to him in front of a campfire.
The fact that bonfires are formed of waste wood from homes and farms gives them significance. In the name of the gods, girls and the women of the home dance and sing around the bonfire.
- Day 2: Thai Pongal (15th January 2023)
It is believed that on this day, the primary Pongal celebration takes place.
Surya Pongal is another name for Thai Pongal. Kolam, a traditionally made auspicious design made of white lime powder and placed at the entrance of the house, marks the beginning of the ceremonial devotion.
The females of the household should do this first thing in the morning and right after taking a bath. Everybody dresses traditionally, accessories, and applies tikkas to their foreheads.
- Day 3: Mattu Pongal (16th January 2023)
The Mattu Pongal festival is devoted to cow worship.
On this special day, the farmers dress up their cows with flower garlands, multicolored beads, jingling bells, and sheaves of corn. They are then brought to the village squares, where everyone gathered to admire one another’s cows and makeovers.
Following that, they are worshipped, and an Aarti is conducted in their honor. Bells ringing and cows with elaborate make-up add to the festive and cheerful atmosphere.
- Day 4: Kaanum Pongal (17th January 2023)
Kaanum or Knau Pongal is the name of the fourth or last day of Pongal. The leftovers from sweet Pongal, coloured rice (red and yellow), betel leaves, plantains, betel nuts, two pieces of sugarcane, and other items are set in the courtyard and laid on the cleaned turmeric leaves as part of the Pongal ritual on this day.
Simply placed in the middle of the turmeric leaf is the key ingredient—rice. The women of the home gather in the courtyard to pray for the well-being of their brothers and families. This is followed by an Aarti in which holy water is sprinkled throughout the entire house, including the yard.
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