Here’s How to Celebrate Pongal, Typical Rural Tamil Style!

Want to join them Pongal celebrations? Here’s how they do it authentically.

Art and Culture
2 min read

(This story was first published on 14 January 2018. It has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark the festival of Pongal.)

Want to join them Pongal celebrations? Here's how you can.

Over 5,000 years ago, not long after rice and lentils became major agricultural crops, Tamil-speaking people figured out that boiling the two together created a gruel that was wholesome and a whole lot tastier!

During the Sangam era (1500 BC), in Poompuhar (South Tamil Nadu), a festival named 'Indra Vizha' (Indra's Festival), was celebrated to give thanks to Lord Indra, the Sun and to nature for bountiful harvests.

Over time, the Indra Vizha, and the harvest festival of Tamil farmers combined to become 'Pongal'.

Pongal, today, is all about Tamil pride, and an identity marker for all that is Tamil. This is more true in urban Tamil Nadu than the rural hinterlands.

To the farmer, Pongal was, is and will always be, the festival of festivals, where their way of life is celebrated. From the bouquet of mango leaves and wild flowers placed on the thatched roof of the hut, to the freshly baked pots in which the Pongal is made, to the Kolavai (a kind of 'yodeling') sound of the women as the pot boils over, everything about the festival is authentically rustic.

Cameraperson: Vikram Venkateswaran Line Producer: Focus Factory Saravanan

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