Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival. Pongal is a four-day festival which according to the Gregorian calendar is normally celebrated from January 14 to January 16. This corresponds to the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of the Tamil month Thai.
Thai Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Tamil people in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry, and the country of Sri Lanka, as well as Tamils worldwide, including those in Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, United States, Singapore, Canada and UK. Thai Pongal corresponds to Makara Sankranthi, the winter harvest festival celebrated throughout India.
The day marks the start of the sun’s six-month-long journey northwards (the Uttaraayanam). This also corresponds to the Indic solstice when the sun purportedly enters the 10th house of the Indian zodiac Makara or Capricorn. Thai Pongal is mainly celebrated to convey appreciation to the Sun God for a successful harvest. Part of the celebration is the boiling of the first rice of the season consecrated to the Sun - the Surya Maangalyam.
Significance: It’s a festival of thanksgiving to nature representing the first harvest of the year.
Key attractions: The variety of Kolam designs and cattle races
When: 14th to 16th January
Where: Celebrated by Tamils all over India, primarily in Tamil Nadu
2017 dates: Begins on 13th January