Origin of the Pongal dates more than 1000 years ago. Pongal is also known as Puthiyeedu in Tamil Nadu. Puthiyeedu was celebrated from the Medieval Chola empire days. Puthiyeedu represents the first harvest of the year.
Once Lord Shiva, asked Basava, a bull, to go to earth and ask people to take oil bath daily and eat once in a month. But Basava asked people to eat daily and take oil bath once in a month. For that Lord Shiva got angry and said Basava to go and stay in earth forever and help people to plough the field and produce more food.
Lord Indra was arrogant after becoming King of deities, so Lord Krishna decided to teach him a lesson. Lord Krishna asked all the cowherds not to stop worship Lord Indra. This angered Indra and sent clouds for thunder-storms and made it rain for three continuous days. Lord Krishna saved all the people with the help of Mount Govardhan. After that Lord Indra realized his mistake.
Pongal is widely celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated for four days. It starts on the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi and ends on the third day of the Tamil month Thai. In English calendar it starts from January 13 and ends on January 16th.
The first of Pongal is called Bhogi. On this day people throw all the old belongings and celebrate new possessions. All the old belongings are thrown in to bonfire which is lit in early morning. In Andhra Pradesh Bhogi Pallu along with sugar cane and money is poured over children. Second day is called as Thai Pongal. It is also known as Makara Sankranthi in most parts of the country. On this day all the people decorate their house with banana and coconut leaves and prepare Pongal. Third day is called Maatu Pongal. This is related to cattle. On this day Jallikkattu and taming wild bull games are played. Women and girls feed birds and pray for their brothers’ safety and well being. Last day is known as Kaanum Pongal. Kaanum means visit. On this day all the family members organize get together.