Pongal

January

Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu

Pongal, Tamil Nadu’s harvest festival, is Chennai’s favourite celebration. Observed for four days in mid-January, this extravaganza sees the preparation of a delicious sweetmeat called Pongal – a mixture of rice and jiggery. Each household draws Kolam and people dress up in their finest attire to visit temples, where the sounds of bells, conches, clarinets and drums fill the air.


Pongal, Tamil Nadu’s harvest festival, is Chennai’s favourite celebration. Observed for four days in mid-January, this extravaganza sees the preparation of a delicious sweetmeat called Pongal – a mixture of rice and jiggery. Each household draws Kolam and people dress up in their finest attire to visit temples, where the sounds of bells, conches, clarinets and drums fill the air.

Interestingly, this is the only Hindu festival other than the Kite Flying Festival that occurs on the same days annually, following the solar calendar. Signalling the closure of the farming season, Pongal gives respite to farmers from their daily routine. Each of the four days; 13-16 January has a special significance and traditions are kept alive, from worshipping cattle to burning old clothes.

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