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Sweet traditions of Pongal

This harvest festival is a traditional occasion to thank Mother Nature and celebrate life cycles.

SNS | New Delhi |

The four-day celebration of harvest season, Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.

The first harvest of rice is dedicated to the sun god on this occasion after that the feast begins.

This harvest festival is a traditional occasion to thank Mother Nature and celebrate life cycles.

Tamilians say 'Thai pirandhaal vazhi pirakkum', and believe that complicated family troubles will be solved with the beginning of the Tamil month Thai that begins on Pongal day. This is also the month of weddings.

The sweet dish without which the festival is incomplete is also called Pongal. Made of rice, the other major ingredients of Pongal are milk, cardamom, jaggery, raisins, green gram and cashew nuts.

Kept under the sun as an offering to the Sun god Surya, it is usually placed in a porch or a courtyard. Pongal is cooked in a clay pot that is decorated with multi-coloured patterns called Kolam. The dish Pongal has two variants, one sweet and one savoury and it is served on banana leaves.

Cooking Pongal is a traditional practice at Hindu temples during any part of the Temple Festival.

Another famous tradition which is part of the celebration since centuries is Jallikattu also called bull taming. It is known to be practiced all across Tamil Nadu since Tamil classical period. Recently there has been a huge rage over banning the sport.