Happy Pongal, Makar Sankranti, Magh Bihu !!
Pongal 2022 is special because Krishnan made Pongal in the OPOS Cookbot, all by himself ! The traditional Pongal is made on a stove outside the house in either a clay pot or Bronze vessel. Ofcourse making it outside is possible only when the whole community celebrates it together, like in villages. In apartment complexes that we all live in, its impossible to cook outside unless we do it in designated spots.
Kousalya (my sis-in-law) and Rohini (my cousin) celebrated Pongal 2022 the traditional way. They put a Kolam of Suryan (Sun) and Chandran (Moon), put rice and moong dal in a vengala (Bronze) paanai (pot) and cooked it with Jeera (cumin), Pepper, Ghee, Curry Leaves and Ginger. The Vengala Paanai is decorated with turmeric pods, pieces of sugarcane and turmeric leaves.
Rohini as always did an amazing job of Pongal preparations. She made not just Ven-Pongal (Porridge with salt), but Vadai, Chakkarai-Pongal (Sweet Porridge), Raw Banana dry curry etc. Just see in the picture below how elaborate the spread is at her place !
At the Peelamedu Anjaneyar temple, there was a sugarcane forest created using 10,008 sugarcane stalks. The Alankaram is beyond extraordinary 🙏🏿. There is a short video in Tamil about the significance of Hanuman. The voice is of Narayana Bhattar, Amma’s friend’s son, who manages this temple.
Pongal and Makar Sankranti
I had written about the four day festival in 2017 – Boghi, Thai Pongal, Kanu Pidi, Kaanum Pongal … four days of harvesting!. The harvest festivals are also celebrated in several South Asian countries like Thailand, Laos etc because the Chola empire was spread all over this region.
As I had mentioned in my blog yesterday Bhogi, Vaikuntha Ekadasi and Lohri 2022, Thai Pongal marks the start of “Thai” maasam and the “Uttarayana” period. The six months of Uttarayana is when the days are longer and nights are shorter as the Sun moves towards the northern hemisphere. The Dakshinayana period is when the opposite occurs. Do read about Uttarayana.