Pongal is one of the most important festivals in India, especially celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Pongal is a harvest festival that marks the end of the harvesting season and is celebrated annually on the full moon day of Magha. It is a four-day event that brings families and communities together to thank nature for the cornucopia of the past season, and to celebrate with traditional music and dance. The festival has now become a part of the global Tamil culture after spreading to other countries such as Singapore and the United States.
In USA, Pongal celebrations have become popular among Tamil families. It's a way for them to stay connected with their culture and traditions. Some Tamil families decorate their homes in traditional Tamil Pongal decor like colourful rangolis and traditional pottery called 'pattais'. Earthen vessels decorated with turmeric and kolam signs hung for decoration are also a part of Tamil Pongal decor. People participating in the grand celebration dress up in traditional attires, share traditional music and dance, and consume a sweet dish called 'pongal' which is locally prepared using ingredients like mistletoe (vendhaya).
In Kerala, Pongal celebration is an exciting celebration that sees people preparing fresh and delectable dishes. As part of the tradition, people exchange gifts, offer food items to the sun god, perform traditional arts, sing folk songs and wear new clothing. They also visit temples and offer prayers in gratitude to nature. The local vendors sell special pongal decorations like lamps, flowers and earthenware pots. Additionally, they also sell pongal decorations made of puja materials like turmeric, rice, flowers and saffron.
People celebrating Pongal also exchange Happy Pongal wishes and gifts like traditional sweets, fruits, flowers and new clothing. Traditionally, Pongal is marked as the beginning of a new year. It is believed that exchanging gifts on Pongal will bring good luck and prosperity for all. Friends and family also invite each other to their respective homes for meal and fun activities.
The upcoming Pongal Festival of 2023 is going to be a very festive occasion. Preparations are being done world-wide and many people will be looking forward to celebrating Pongal in the traditional manner. We hope that the festival brings positivity, joy and peace in the lives of those