COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, January 14, 2021 (News First): Thai Pongal is a traditional harvest festival observed by all Tamils, Hindus and non-Hindus alike. It is celebrated in India, Sri Lanka and other parts of the world where there are Tamil communities. It falls in the month of Thai of the Tamil calendar (the tenth month in the Tamil calendar) and is held to thank the Sun God, Earth, the Rain God, other natural elements and the cattle for a good harvest. Pongal literally means boiling over. Sweet Pongal rice is offered to the Sun God during the Thai Pongal festival.
Thai Pongal is the only Hindu festival that follows a solar calendar (the days are fixed by the movement of the Sun) and is celebrated in mid-January each year. Pongal is also astrologically important as it marks the start of the Sun's journey northwards from its southernmost point. On Thai Pongal day, houses and places of worship are decorated with kolam or rangoli and families engage in Pongal activities. The main food preparation is Pongal; cooking takes place outdoors in a decorated clay pot. The main ingredients are rice, milk, green gram (mung beans), jaggery, spices, cashew nuts, and raisins. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his message for Thai Pongal joined the Tamil brethren to share their joy and happiness.