Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Pongal Festival

Pongal, being the first Tamil festival that we celebrate in New Year is very special. The lengthy celebration that last for 3 days and the holidays of course add more charm to the festival. Most importantly celebrations include lot of interesting recipes being cooked and shared among friends and relatives.

The day of Pongal is the Day 1 of Tamil month “Thai”. On this auspicious day, we used to get up early in the morning, take bath and wear new cloths. My mom and my grandma will be too busy preparing the lengthy list of food.

However, the preparation for the same starts the previous day itself. We used to prepare Pongal in the Bronze Vessel (Venkala Paanai). This vessel needs to be cleaned. We buy Pasu Manjal (Turmeric Plants), flowers for Pooja, Veggies for the food, Banana Leaf, Banana fruit, Betal leaves, Sugarcane and coconut.

Vengala Paanai will be decorated with Turmeric Plants tied on the top of it, all four sides with Kumkum and Sandal powder. Click here for Pongal Special recipes.
Usually, in villages the new plantation of raw rice is used for Pongal. Nowadays, in cities not sure people get this for sure. But Pongal is strictly prepared using raw rice.

Below is the Basic list of items that are cooked on the day of Pongal.
Sweet Pongal,  Ulundu Vadai,  Sambar with 7 veggies (Odd Numbers) that includes Carrot, Fresh Mochai, Sweet Potato, White Pumpkin, Yellow Pumpkin, Avarai and Yam.  Plantain Curry, Broad Beans (Avarai) Curry, Thayir Pachadi (Tomato or carrot or cucumber), Sweet potato curry
Tomato Rasam, Curd and Rice.

You can alter the veggies according to your taste. Since there is a ritual (Tharpanam) performed to ancestors on the day, Brinjal, Drumstick, Radish, Onion and Garlic are generally not included on this day. We should not take oil bath on this day as well. 

Those who are have to perform Tharpanam should complete this ritual first and then perform the Pooja.

The stove should face the east side and kolam should be drawn on and beneath the stove. Sun and Moon Kolam is also drawn on this day. First cook the roasted dhal in the vessel and then add the raw rice, boiled milk and required water. When the Milk starts boiling and come on the top of the vessel, we should say "Pongalo Pongal" and perform Namaskaram towards the stove where the vessel is kept. Once the food including the Sweet pongal is ready, we perform the Pooja and Prayer, offer the food to Sun god (If possible in terrace) facing east direction.

We celebrated Pongal Festival upstairs with our neighbors and relatives. We cooked Pongal and performed Pooja in the Terrace. That was a wonderful experience we had last year and this year also we have planned the same. I personally love to have Pongal and Rasa Vadai on this day.

And finally, elders insist to keep the vessel in which Pongal was cooked without washing completely. We pour water in the vessel and set it aside. The vessel will be washed on the next day only. 

Enjoy this festival season and share your experience……….


  1. Wonderful post di. Very useful information. I never know the pongal panni should not be washed properly on the same day. Keep sharing

    1. Hmm yes... Amma used to do the same way... Actually some people keep the pannai for 3 days...

  2. This is so awesome Mythili. What a great way to preserve our traditions and leave a trail of it for the future generations. Waiting to read more from you.

    1. Tku Meena. I have a plan to be at Ramapuram at least for two to three days to collect all those treasures with Athai.

  3. Good one, Mythili. How about Bogi pandigai and Kanum pongal? Share information on those too, so people like me can use that as a reference while celebrating the festivals.

    What a terrific idea to incorporate Jey's blog in yours through hyperlinks! Kalakkare Mythili!

  4. nice presedntation of Pongal Festivity celebration. Let yr writings continue and our best wishes. May God Bless you and yr family - Murali - Tirunagar - Madurai

  5. Every writeup of u has been awesome.. thanks for helping our present generation to follow the tradition:)