Pongal 2020 Date: On the day of Thai Pongal, people traditionally boil freshly-harvested rice, along with milk and jaggery in a brand new clay pot. (Express photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)
Pongal 2020 Date: A harvest festival largely celebrated in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Pongal festivities go on for four days, with the most important day being the second. It is referred to as 'Thai Pongal', and coincides with Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated in the northern parts of the country. This year, Pongal will be celebrated between January 15 and 18.
It should be noted that Thai Pongal is the first day of the Thai month, as per the Tamil solar calendar. Thai Pongal is followed by Mattu Pongal, which is then followed by the Kaanum Pongal.
What happens during Pongal?
The day before Thai Pongal is celebrated as 'Bogi Pandigai'. On this day, people clean their homes, discard unused and redundant items and light a bonfire. It is similar to how people in the north-Indian state of Punjab celebrate another harvest festival called Lohri.
On the day of Thai Pongal, people traditionally boil freshly-harvested rice, along with milk and jaggery in a brand new clay pot. In fact, they let the boiling concoction spill over, because it is considered to be auspicious. It is believed the spilling represents abundance and prosperity.
Later, when the concoction of rice, milk and jaggery is ready, it is peppered with ghee, brown sugar, raisins and cashews, and served to the Sun God first, as gratitude for a period of excellent harvest. This dish is famously called 'Pongal'. It is later presented and served on banana leaves and fed to an entire community. It is believed that Pongal is cooked at sunrise, and in an open space.