|Pongal Image credit: By J'ram DJ CC-BY via flickr|
Pongal comes on the 1st day of Tamil month 'Thai' and people wake up early in the morning to worship Sun god. Pongal sweet prepared early in the morning during sunrise is the special dish of the day. It is a combination of rice, jaggery, milk and cardamom powder. Rice prepared auspiciously on the day of Thai Pongal is considered as a potent symbol of prosperity and happiness.
Also, Thai Pongal is a thanks giving day to the cattle of the household. The cattle that are raised for ploughing the field and for drawing carts have to be given high attention. Cattle are bathed early in the morning and their horns are painted with red, blue, yellow and green colors. Their foreheads are then dabbed with turmeric and Kumkum. Flower garlands adorn their necks and Pooja is offered to them. They are fed with plenty of Pongal. Celebration of Pongal for the cattle is termed as 'Mattu Pongal' in Tamil.
Thai Pongal is an occasion for family re-unions and get-together. Friends and enemies altogether join to celebrate this harvest festival forgetting their rivalries and hostilies. Indeed, Thai Pongal is a festival of harmony among all sorts of people.
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