Uzhavar Tirunal 2024

17 January 2024
Puducherry    Regional holiday

The Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu is also known as Uzhavar Thirunal - Uzhavar in Tamil meaning the farmer and Thirunal to mean the festival. It is basically a harvest festival celebrated in South India at the time of concluding harvest season.

Uzhavar Thirunal comes every year in mid-January when the Sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn also changing his pathway from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, the day being recognized as Makar Sankranti. Makaram is the Sun Sign Capricorn in Sanskrit and the Sun entering that sign is called so. The agricultural produce, at this time, comes home in plenty. Farmers and other households have feasts with rice cooked with dhal and Jaggery, which item is also named Pongal more specifically Sarkarai Pongal in Tamil, to mean, Jaggery rice or Sweet Rice.

Farmers and other people of Tamilnadu celebrate Uzhavar Thirunal with lot of gaiety and joy, women folks singing and dancing with music specific to the occasion, the rituals including constructing a small mud house within the house, decorating it and cooking milk in that space.

Pongal festival day or Makar Sankranti celebration of the year dates back more than 1000 years, as established by Epigraphic studies. The Pongal festival celebrated earlier days in Tamilnadu as Puthyeedu linking it to the harvest season, later period getting the name Pongal. Naming it Uzhavar Thirunal is of recent origin.

Uzhavar Thirunal is also linked with a number of legends; predominant among them is Lord Krishna holding the Govardhan mount with his little finger on the day prior to Makar Sankranti. Another legend connects Makar Sankranti is that Lord Shiva sent his companion Bull called Nandi to earth to instruct people as to how they should take oil bath and how one should observe penance, which Nandi messed up, with the result he was ordained to stay on the earth to help farming community to plough their lands.