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When the Pot Overflows

Posted on September 16, 2011 | FestivalsNo Comment

If you happen to be in the southern part of India in the month of January or February then be prepared to see the spectacle of your life as it is that time of the year when the pot spills over. The Pot? Yes, Pongal the festival is a harvest festival where they boil milk in a pot and let it spill over. This boiling of milk in the pot signifies inviting a lot of financial and material wealth in the house. It also indirectly is a silent token of gratitude offered to the Indian sun God for all the material wealth he gives us and for taking care of the farms and fields thus making a good harvest.

Pongal pot festival

Occurring on 13th January, the Pongal festival is a very important festival in Tamil Nadu in India. People here donate their first grain to the Sun god. The Pongal day starts with the month of Thai which is the beginning of the Tamil calendar. It is believed that the Sun shifts to the northern side. Uttaryana begins with this shift and it is the beginning of Pongal. From Pongal the Tamil Nadu land has longer days. Also known as Makara Sankranti in other areas, Pongal is celebrated all over India.

Pongal festival Pongal festival

Bhogi is the day before Pongal when people give away old things, and new things are brought. This disposal is very similar to that that happens in Northern Part of India during the festival of Holi. In Andhra people have a bonfire and they also throw away old materials. All people clean, paint and decorate their houses thus enhancing the festive atmosphere.


In all these southern states all fruits are collected and a ceremony called Bhogi Pallu is held. The mixture of Bhogi Pallu is poured on top of kids who love to collect the money and fruits that are kept in the mixture.

Bhogi Pallu

In the state of Assam, the Pongal festival are celebrated as Magh Bihu, and as Lohri in Punjab.

Lohri in Punjab

In Tamil Nadu people make a mixture of boiling rice with jaggery and fresh milk in pots and let the pot overflow. That is why Pongal is called the Overflowing pot festival. These clay pots are decorated with strings of sugarcane, turmeric and ginger stalks and it is a festive mood. With cashew nuts and raisins topping the dish, the dish Pongal is also equally popular as the festival. It is normally made early in the morning. As soon as the milk boils out of the pot, all the people shout “Pongal o Pongal”. The sacred conch is blown at this time and the Tamilians believe that it brings a lot of prosperity to the house. Then the newly cooked food or rice is offered to the Indian Sun God. This shows a lot of gratitude to the Sun God. Lot of other sweets and other items are also prepared during this festival.

Pongal pot festival

The pot is a major feature of the festival of Pongal. The pot is a sign of all the success that we attain in life. The boiling over signifies overflowing success in life.

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