History & Origin of Pongal
History & Origin of Pongal: Pongal is an ancient Hindu festival that is being celebrated in India since ages. The History & Origin of Pongal may date to more than 1000 years ago, from around 200 B.C. to 300 A.D. during the Sangam Age. It is said that Pongal originated as Dravidian Harvest festival and is also mentioned in the Sanskrit Puranas during the Sangam Age. It is identified as Thai Un and Thai Niradal by the historians too.
Celebration Pongal during Sangam Age
It is believed that during the Sangam Age, the unmarried girls used to pray for the agricultural prosperity of their country. They used to perform the prayers in the Tamil month of Margazhi, corresponding December and January. The unmarried girls used to restrain themselves from the consumption of milk and milk products. The girls didn’t even use to oil their hair for the whole month. They also abstained themselves from using harsh words. They also needed to take ceremonial baths in the early mornings.
The girls would offer prayers to Goddess Katyayani who is one of the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga. The image of the deity was carved out of sand. Women used to break their fasts during the first day of the month of Thai as it was believed that it would bring prosperity, abundant wealth and bountiful crop for the year ahead. The celebration of the festival Thai Niradal has been mentioned in the Tamil Literature as Pavai Nonbu.
Legends related to Pongal
There are a number of legend tales that are associated with the celebration of Pongal. It is believed that long years ago, people use to worship Lord Indra and he became arrogant because this and started considering him as one of the most powerful of all Gods. When Lord Krishna got to know about this, he wanted to teach Lord Indra a lesson. So he started worshipping Mount Govardhan instead.
Lord Indra became furious because of this and as a result, he produced non-stop thunder, lightning, flood and heavy rains. But Lord Krishna saved the villagers from Lord Indra’s anger. Lord Krishna lifted the Mount Govardhan with his little finger and the entire village including people, cattle and cowherd stayed under it for three continuous days. And then, Lord Indra realized his mistake and Lord Krishna asked people to worship Lord Indra on Bhogi.
The other legendry tale is of Lord Shiva send his bull, Nandi. It is believed that Lord Shiva sent his bull Nandi on earth to tell people to have oil bath daily and eat only once in a month. But Nandi got confused and asked people to eat daily and have oil bath once in a month. When Lord Shiva came to know about this, he got disappointed and then ordered Nandi to stay on earth and help people in ploughing their fields and growing crops. Since then, the festival became a harvest festival.