Thai Pongal unites Hindus all over Sri Lanka in a devoted prayer of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest on an auspicious day in mid-January.
Pongal is a four-day festival celebrated in India. Farmers devote their entire year to worshipping the Sun and celebrating the harvest, so it has been named after the Sun God (Surya). Within Sri Lankan context, it’s a two-day festival, where its preparations would begin on the first day.
Pongal is the only Hindu festival that follows the solar calendar, and it is celebrated every year on the 14th or 15th of January. Pongal is significant in astronomy because it marks the beginning of Uttarayana, the Sun’s six-month trip northward. In Hinduism, Uttarayana is considered fortunate, as opposed to Dakshinaayana, or the Sun’s southern movement. Thus, every significant event is scheduled during this period.
On Thai Pongal Day, kolam or rangoli patterns are drawn upon the floor to decorate homes and places of worship, and families participate in celebrational and religious events. Pongal is the main food preparation, which is done in an outside hearth in a new and painted clay pot. Rice, milk, green gram (mung beans), jaggery, spices, cashew nuts, raisins, and other components are among the ingredients of this auspicious Pongal rice.
During Thai Pongal, the land is filled with gratitude and hope, adding happiness and colour to people’s lives regardless of their social status while bringing them together in harmony.