Pongal, which is celebrated in countries such as India, marks the start of sun’s six-month long journey northwards (Uttarayana).
A traditional South Indian harvest festival, and is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar year.
Pongal is a major celebration in India and people celebrate it for about four days.
The first day is called Bhogi. Many people burn and get rid of old household items and purchase new household items on this day. This marks the start of a new cycle.
The second day is Perum, also known as Surya Pongal, and is the most important day of Pongal. Many people worship the sun god, Lord Surya by offering prayers on this day. Many people also wear new clothes and women decorate houses with Kolam (designs) using rice flour and red clay.
Mattu Pongal is the third day and includes worshipping cattle because it is believed that cattle help give a good harvest.
The fourth day is called Kanum Pongal, which is when many people go on picnic and spend time with families and friends.
The Pongal festival also includes exchanging gifts, dancing, and buffalo-taming contests