Pongal is the harvest festival mainly celebrated by the Tamil people at the end of harvest season. Pongal is a 4 - day festival. It generally takes place from 13 January to 16 January in the Gregorian calendar. Pongal is distinguished successively for a period of 4 days.
- Bhogi / Bhogi Pongal
On the 1st day called Bhogi Pongal, old clothes and other similar materials are thrown away & set on fire. On this auspicious day, people clean their homes comprehensively and dispose of unwanted material. Pongal festival is well thought-out as a time to shed away the old and greet the new. People adulate Lord Indra this day. A bonfire called as Bhogi Mantalu is lit.
- Veethu Pongal or Sarkarai Pongal
The 2nd day of Pongal is the most important day. It is also called Veethu Pongal or Sarkarai Pongal. It is celebrated by making a sweet dish made from rice, jiggery and milk. The sweet dish (Sarkarai Pongal) is presented to the Sun as a symbol of thanksgiving to Sun God and nature for affluence.
- Mattu Pongal
The 3rd day of the festival is called Mattu Pongal. On this day thanks is given to the cattle. On this auspicious day, cattle are bejeweled with flowers, paint, bells etc. The horns of cattle are decorated and are made clean. In some of the villages in Tamil Nadu, 'Jallikattu' takes place. Jallikattu is the contest wherein bundles of notes are attached to the horns of the ferocious bulls which the farmers try to pull through.
- Kaanum Pongal
The final day of Pongal is Kaanum Pongal. On this auspicious day, people visit their friends and relatives. People present food to the crow. They visit temples and proffer respects to elders. On this day, sun is worshipped.