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Makara Sankaranti

Discussion in 'Chitvish on Hindu Culture & Vedanta' started by Chitvish, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Though we worship Surya everyday, his entry into the zodiac sign Makara is celebrated by the Hindus all over the world as Makara Sankaranti, the beginning of Uttarayana. It is the day on which the sun turns from the Tropic of Capricorn. In Tamil Nadu it is celebrated as Pongal festival, marking a good harvest. Pongal literally means “ boiling over “. As a symbol of plenty, the milk is allowed to boil over the pot when the rice is cooking.

    Surya is revered as the visible God ( Prathyaksha devata). There has always been a profound relationship between Surya and man. Surya is said to be the embodiment of natural and supernatural powers. He symbolises the victory over darkness . This is, in reality the victory of knowledge over ignorance !

    According to mythology, Surya rides on a chariot driven by seven horses that symbolize the seven colours of vibgyor – violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. These seven colours are reflected in the rainbow.

    Pongal is a three day festival, celebrated specially in south India. It is considered highly favourable for auspicious activities. It is also an occasion of great rejoicing and merry making. The first day is Bhogi-pongal when bonfires are lighted. The second day is the main pongal. This day is dedicated to the Sun-God. The ladies of the house boil in milk moong dhal and freshly harvested rice together. When it just starts boiling, it is customary to shout together “ pongalo pongal”. Then the cooking is completed, adding jaggery, spices, ghee and nuts. This is offered to sun god. It is customary to enquire
    “ Has the milk boiled?" - பால் பொங்கியாச்சா?" The answer is “ yes, it has boiled”- ஆமாம், பால் பொங்கியது" !

    The third day is Mattu Pongal or Pongal of the cows. On this day, cows are worshipped and circumambulated ( known as doing pradakshinam). Their horns are painted in various colours, and garlands are hung around their necks. Goddess Parvathi is supposed to be present in the form of a cow. All devatas are supposed to reside in the body of Kamadhenu, the mother of all cows. Even to get relief from the problems of Saturn, it is customary to worship the cow. For progeny and prosperity, the cow is worshipped respectfully.

    Pongal marks the change of the season and is primarily a harvest festival. India is an agricultural country and cows and oxen play a vital role in agriculture. That is why they are worshipped and venerated so much on that day.

    Pongal also symbolises the sharing of things with others. The new reaped harvest is shared with friends, relatives, beasts and birds, They all partake of the cooked food and sweets. This day is called Kanum Pongal. On that day, early morning, women in South India, offer to crows and other birds, the pongal and rices in different colours. This is specially done with a prayer for the happy, prosperous life of brothers and their families.

    Sringeri Sankaracharya has said
    Surya is fond of receiving namaskarams. That is why there has been an age old practice of Surya Namaskara; It helps to eradicate disease and grant a healthy life.
    The following shloka is specially chanted, praying to Surya for good health and strength of mind.

    Japaakusuma sakaas(h)am kaas(h)ya paeyam mahaadhyuthim
    Thamorim sarva paapaghnam praNatho(a)smi divaakaram

    I worship Surya called divakara – he has the complxion of red hibiscus;he is the son of a sage called Kas(h)yapa; he gives light to the whole world; he removes ignorance and illumines with the light of knowledge;
    He makes man free from all his bad karmas.

    Let us all worship the sun and pray for a healthy body and a brilliant mind.

    சூரியன் பாட்டு;

    அண்டபிண்டம் நிறைந்துநின்ற அயன்மால் போற்றி

    அகண்டபரி பூரணத்தின் அருளே போற்றி

    மண்டலஞ் சூழ் இரவிமதி சுடரே போற்றி

    மதுரத்தமிழ் ஓதும் அகத்தியனே போற்றி

    எண்டிசையும் புகழுமெந்தன் குருவே போற்றி

    இடைகலையின் சுழிமுனையின் கமலம் போற்றி

    குண்டலிக்குள் அமர்ந்த கணபதியே போற்றி

    குகமணியின் தாளிணைகள் போற்றி போற்றி

    மங்களம் நல்கும் மறையே போற்றி

    இருபத்தேழு விண்மீன் தமக்கும்

    விரியும் ஒளியை விதைத்தாய் போற்றி

    வெற்றியின் வடிவே வேந்தே போற்றி

    மற்றோர் நிகரிலா மாண்பே போற்றி

    சூரிய நாராயணா போற்றி

    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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  2. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Pongal Continued !

    As far as possible, the puja is offered to Surya in the open terrace. One can also traditionally cook the pongal in a mud pot in tradotional stove, for a change. This gives a "rural touch" to the festival !
    I am posting a photo of the pongal & puja of last year.
    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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  3. anjana

    anjana Bronze IL'ite

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    Happy Pongal to you Chitra,

    Dear Chitra,
    Once again you have done it a very informative post about Pongal and 'Surya namaskaram'. I kinda guessed that you might post it just in time. You have explained the significance of all three days very well. I knew only to some extent but did not know ignorance over darkness. It is kind of funny that on the day of Pongal it is mostly gloomy here:cry: :cry: May be that is what the sun God wishes.
    The pooja photo sets me into a Pongal mood. But all that can be done only in India I guess. I am homesick again.:cry:
    Love,
     
  4. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Chitra..

    Dear Chitra,

    Like Anjana, I was also expecting a post on Sankranthi from you and you didn't disappoint. I loved reading it. For a change, this is a festival I remember very well and all because of my dear father. He was a typical South Indian and Tamilian where Pongal was concerned! We used to celebrate all the three days back in those days and the Bhogi was a real fascinating thing for me. My mom collected all sorts of things to add to the bhogi fire and my dad used to make it a point to light it. In the early mornings of Bangalore's cool clime, it was a thrilling experience.
    The 'pongalo pongal' said thrice as the rice boiled over in milk was the next thrill on the Pongal day:) There was a very tasty kozhambu accompaniement to the pongal, made with root and other vegetables. Being in Bangalore, it was a practice of the Karnataka people to share sugarcane and mixture of sugar+ellu+jaggery and there used to be small toy figures made of iced sugar..coloured sometimes, all arranged in a plate and given to neighbours and friends!
    Lovely sweet memories.

    L, Kamla

    PS: Lovely pic of pongal puja on the mottaimadi:)
     
  5. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Radha M !

    I think, I have become predictable with my postings !
    So, I will be back to " your guessing" game ! Next week's subject, you cannot guess !
    I am not writing this to make you more homesick, definitely ! - Pongal mood has fully set in with sugarcane sold all over. The kolams in houses are becoming bigger & bigger. There are advertisements for pongal discount !
    What follows is a pongal kolam.
    That is our life, here, Radha ! You can request Mohan to read this for you !
    பொங்கும் மங்களம் எங்கும் தங்குக !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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  6. meenakrishnan

    meenakrishnan Bronze IL'ite

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    Pongalo Pongal!

    Dear Chithra,
    Nadamaadum noolakame,:clap
    That was a wonderful post.
    I put a similar kolam for every pongal in front of our house.I have the photo also,but donno how to include it here.Will try later.
    Happy Pongal to you!:)
    Love and regards
    Meena
     
  7. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Happy Pongal

    Dear Ms C,

    Yes i too was expecting a post on Pongal. Now seeing all your pics, is making me homesick too. and in my area they have forecast a heavy winter storm , and its so cold.... no sun at all!

    Kamla,

    Yes your post brought back memories too. I think the ellu + jaggery had pices of copra too in it. And it tasted so yummy!. I do remember all those sugar candy in various shapes.

    Lets celebrate an e pongal on IL here.

    V
     
  8. Surya

    Surya Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Chitra,

    It is another wonderful, timely post. Enjoyed reading every bit of the post. it gives me pleasure reading it and recollecting the memories of Pongal days in my mom's place, drawing paint kolams in the verandah, maakkolam in puja room, drawing color kolams in front of the house, saying pongalo pongal etc.... but here we prepare pongal in pressure cooker, so no saying of pongalo pongal, no sugar cane too.....missing everything. Thanks for the wonderful post and also thanks for the photo of surya narayanar. Happy Pongal.

    regards,
    kodi.
     
  9. meenu

    meenu Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Chith,
    Your posts herald celebration of any function. The attached picture of Lord surya is very divine. Your topics are so well planned that we can celebrate knowing full significance. The neivedyams are also in the recipe. the kolams are inviting Altogether you increase our confidence. Thank you for a lovely post. I am a little sad I do not have a terrace!
    regards,
    Meenu
     
  10. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Kamla !

    My post has made you very nostalgic, happily because you think of how you enjoyed it and sadly because you are far away from the scene now !
    Thankyou very much forthe feedback.
    பொங்கும் மங்களம் எங்கும் தங்குக !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     

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