First Day Pongal Celebrations
The first day of Pongal is devoted to Lord Indra, who is the supreme ruler of clouds that give rain. People pay homage to Lord Indra for the abundance of harvest and prosperity to the land. There is a custom of throwing useless household articles into a fire, made of wood and cow-dung cakes. Girls are seen dancing around the bonfire and singing songs in praise of the God.
Second Day Pongal Celebrations
On the second day of Pongal, a puja is performed. Rice is boiled in milk, outdoors – in an earthenware pot, and is symbolically offered to the Sun God, along with other oblations. On this day, husband and wife dispose off elegant ritual utensils, specially used for the puja. There is a ritual of tying turmeric plant around the pot in which the rice will be boiled. The offerings include coconut and bananas in a dish, with two sticks of sugar-cane in background.
Third Day Pongal
It is also known as Mattu Pongal, the day when cattle are worshiped. The cattle are decorated with multi-colored beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn and flower garlands. They are fed with Pongal and taken to the village center, where the young men race each other’s cattle. It makes the atmosphere more festive and full of fun. Later on, aarti is performed.
Fourth Day Pongal
The final day of Pongal celebration is known as Knau or Kannum Pongal. On this day, a turmeric leaf is washed and kept on ground. The left over of sweet Pongal and Venn Pongal, ordinary rice as well as rice colored red and yellow, betel leaves, betel nuts, two pieces of sugarcane, turmeric leaves, and plantains are placed on it. All the women assemble in the courtyard and pray for the prosperity of their brother. An aarti is performed with turmeric water, limestone and rice and the items are sprinkled on the kolam in front of the house.