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Recipes Home: Pongali Food And Dishes

Here are some recipes for the occassion of Pongal. Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu.


Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu. The enthusiasm and the zeal of Tamilians comes alive during the four day festival. Pongal literally means "boiling over". This festival is the biggest event of the year for the Tamilians.

The four day festival consists of Bhogi-Pongal, Surya-Pongal, Mattu-Pongal and Kanyapongal. On the first day which is called the Bhogi Pongal the day begins with a til (sesame) oil bath. In the evening a huge bonfire of old clothes, files, mats and rugs is made. The day is devoted to the Rain god, Indran (Bhogi). Legends say that on this day that Krishna lifted the Gobardhan mountains on his little finger.

Surya-Pongal, the second day is dedicated to Surya (sun). Women boil Pongal, which is rice cooked in milk and jaggery and offer it to the sun on this day.

The third day is dedicated to honour and worship the cattle (mattu) and is called Mattu-Pongal. The cattle are bedecked with turmeric and kumkum on their horns and small bells and flowers are hung around their necks. They are then paraded in the streets and given Pongal to eat which is later offered to the local deities.

On the last day which is Kanya-Pongal coloured balls of the Pongal are offered to birds. In several places of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Jallikatu (which is a kind of bull fight) are held. Unarmed villagers try to snatch the bundles tied to the horns of ferocious bulls. Bullock cart races and cock fights also form a part of this event. In Andhra Pradesh, community meals at night with the freshly harvested products is a speciality. All houses displays their collection of dolls for three days.