Madurai Pongal Festival

Location : Tamilanadu

PONGAL reflects the agricultural roots as it relates to the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu. It also stresses the vital significance of farming, cattle and community bonding in rural life. It is a joyous celebration of the culmination of hard work in the fields and the new beginning of the agricultural cycle with renewed hopes and desires for a fruitful new year.Harvest celebration – This is a thanksgiving harvest festival for a bountiful harvest season. It is also the end of the Tamil month of Thai and the month of Maasi.Cattle worship – This practice gives reverence to the cattle; especially cows and bulls. They are bathed, decorated with colorful accessories like beads and bells and worshipped as a symbol of agricultural prosperity.Pongal Rituals – Pongal is a sweet rice dish cooked with freshly harvested rice, jaggery and milk. When the pongal pot boils over, it is seen as suspicious and symbolizes abundance and prosperity.Decorations – Homes are decorated with intricate Kolam (rangoli) designs using rice flour, mango leaves and flowers to welcome prosperity into the family.Community celebrations – People gather to cook and share Pongal, exchange greetings, involve in cultural events and traditional sports like bull taming (Jallikattu).Religious Rituals – Religious rituals and prayers are offered to Sun God (Surya) as thanksgiving for their overall well-being.Pongal and Mattu Pongal are really thrilling events to experience when you are in Tamil Nadu.JALLIKATTUJallikattu is a thrilling cultural event of Tamilnadu, India in relation with their Pongal Harvest Festival. It is a bull taming sport deeply rooted in Tamil culture and tradition.Bull taming – The challenge for the participants is to tame a bull. These are specially bred bulls that are released into a crowd of participants who try to grab the bull’s hump and hold on to it as long as possible.Rules – There are traditional rules to be followed in this sport. It is a ritual conducted in rural areas only in association with Pongal. Bulls are not harmed and the emphasis is on taming rather than causing any harm to the animal.Community participation – Jallikattu is not just a sport. It is primarily a community event when the entire village comes together to watch the valour of the participants and celebrate their heritage.Symbol of identity – For many Tamil people, Jallikattu is a symbol of their ancestry, identity and emotional value.This is an exciting celebration not to be missed while in Tamil Nadu.