Pongal kolam in Tamil Nadu
© Melting Spot/Alamy Stock Phot
Time to celebrate the year's harvest
Despite immense urbanisation over the last century, the traditional customs of Pongal – such as the kolam design you see on today’s homepage - have remained unchanged. This south Indian festival is the people’s way of giving thanks to the Almighty for the year’s crop harvest. The four days of Pongal – Bhogi (for Lord Indra), Surya (to the Sun), Maatu (in thanks to the cattle) and Kaanum (to the family) all see immense joy and thanksgivings. Kaanum is observed by giving the first bit of cooked rice for the day to cows, or left outside for the birds to eat (some families follow this through the year). Also, younger people pay homage to the elders, and receive token amounts of money for the same. Happy Pongal!