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Pongal

January 19, 2009

Pongal is the only festival of Hindu that follows a solar calendar and is celebrated on the fourteenth of January every year. Pongal has astronomical significance: it marks the beginning of Uttarayana, the Sun’s movement northward for a six month period. In Hinduism, Uttarayana is considered auspicious, as opposed to Dakshinaayana, or the southern movement of the sun.

pongal

All-important events are scheduled during this period. Makara Sankranthi refers to the event of the Sun entering the zodiac sign of Makara or Capricorn.In Hindu temples bells, drums, clarinets and conch shells herald the joyous occasion of Pongal. To symbolize a bountiful harvest, rice is cooked in new pots until they boil over. Some of the rituals performed in the temple include the preparation of rice, the chanting of prayers and the offering of vegetables, sugar cane and spices to the gods. Devotees then consume the offerings to exonerate themselves of past sins.

sweet_pongal_recipe Makara Sankranti and Lohri of the north, it is also called Pongal Sankranti. Pongal is an occasion for family re-unions and get-together. Old enmities, personal animosities and rivalries are forgotten. Pongal wasoriginally a festival for the farming community, today it is celebrated by all.In south India, all three days of Pongal are considered important. However,those south Indians who have settled in the north usually celebrate only thesecond day. Coinciding with