In Tamil, the word Pongal means ‘overflowing’ which signifies abundance and prosperity.
On the day of Pongal i.e., yesterday, at the time of sun rise there is a symbolic ritual of boiling fresh milk in a new clay pots (preferably) and when the milk boils over and bubbles out of the vessel, people at home shout “Pongalo Pongal !” The saying “Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum” meaning “the commencement of Thai paves the way for new opportunities” is often quoted regarding the Pongal festival. Thai Pongal is mainly celebrated to convey the appreciation and thankfulness to the ‘Sun God’ as it acts as the primary source of energy behind agricultural cultivation and a good harvest.
It is an auspicious occasion ‘the Surya Mangalyam’. Tamilians decorate their homes with banana and mango leaves and embellish the floor with decorative patterns called as ‘kolam’ drawn using rice flour.
‘Chakkarai Pongal’ and ‘Venn Pongal’ is prepared – besides rice and milk, the ingredients of this dish includes cardamom, jaggery (in case of Chakkarai pongal), raisins, moong dal, and cashew nuts.