Pongal 2024

15 January 2024
Andhra Pradesh,Arunachal Pradesh,Puducherry,Tamil Nadu    Regional holiday

This is a popular Hindu festival that occurs on or around January 14th across India. It is also celebrated as a public holiday in Sri Lanka. The day is known by various names and a variety of different customs are observed in the different Indian states. Despite these variations, it is a harvest and thanksgiving festival marking the start of spring, the end of the traditional farming season and the gathering of the first food from the harvest.

It is unique among Hindu festivals as the date is based on a solar calendar rather than the phases of the moon. This means it falls on January 14th in the western calendar.

The date of Pongal marks the start of Uttarayana, the time when the sun starts to move northwards after the winter equinox. This date is now actually December 21st in the Western Calendar, but the time of the equinoxes moves by 50 seconds each year due to the wobble of the Earths axis. This shows the ancient age of this festival - a thousand years ago, the festival was on December 31st. Uttarayana is also considered a time of good fortune and important events are scheduled during this period.

The festival is celebrated for up to four days and is known as Pongal.

The harvest festival is known as Pongal and lasts for three days.

In Andhra Pradesh, the first day is known as Bhogi, and it is a day of cleaning and cleansing; old clothes are thrown away, marking the start of new life.

The second day is known as Pongal day. The third day is Mattu Pongal (festival of the cow). In southern India, all three or four days of Pongal are considered important. Southern Indians who have settled in the north will usually celebrate the second day. As it coincides with Makara Sankranti in the north, it may also be called Pongal Sankranti.