Pongal is a Hindu festival which is observed by people of Tamil Nadu. Pongal is a four days festival and the most important day of Pongal is known as Thai Pongal. Thai Pongal which is the second day of the four days festivity is also celebrated as Sankranti.
The same day is observed as Makar Sankranti in North Indian states when people take holy dip in river Ganges.
Thai Pongal day is celebrated by boiling freshly harvested rice with fresh milk and jaggery in a new clay pot. While boiling the concoction, people let the milk spill over the pot as an auspicious sign of material abundance and prosperity. Later the concoction of rice, milk and jaggery, known as Pongal, is topped with brown sugar, Ghee, cashew nuts and raisins.
Freshly cooked Pongal is first offered to the Sun God as a gratitude for good harvesting and later served on banana leaves to the people present in the home for the ceremony. Traditionally Pongal is cooked at sunrise at an open place.
Thai Pongal is the first day of Thai month according to Tamil Solar Calendar. Thai is the tenth solar month in Tamil Calendar. Thai Masam is known as Makar in other Hindu calendars. Next day of Thai Pongal is known as Mattu Pongal. Cattles are decorated and worshipped on Mattu Pongal day. The last and final day of Pongal is known as Kaanum Pongal. It is time for family reunions in Tamil Nadu.