Pongal

                          Pongal or Sankranama or Sankranti is a festival which is observed on the first day of Tamil month of Tai(Sans, Makar).It is a New Year's day astronomically and commences approximately on the 14th January every year. It is observed by the Hindus by offering boiled rice in milk to propitiate the Sun - god. Hence the feast is called the Pongal,which in Tamil means boiled rice. This feast is also called the Uttarayana feast, as the Sun Commeneces his journey towards the north on this day. Sankranti or Sankarmana, which is the Aryan name for the Pongal, means the entrance of the Sun into the sign Capricorn.

Food:
                          The Pongal is observed as a day for the special worship of the sun throughout India by the Hindus. Everything sweet is supposed to please the sun - god, so rice with sugar and milk is cooked on this day in every Hindu household. The Sungod is worshipped in the courtyard of the house with diagrams in red mud describing the Sun and the moon, and Puja is performed on alarge scale. The Pongal food, which consists of Sugar-cane and sugar-candy forms the chief offering to the god. This laso constitutes the first courses in a Hindu dinner. rich men regard this day as a meritotious one for making charitable donations, and every Hindu Raja gives aaway large sums in Charity.

Celebrations:
                          An assembly of Pandits sits on this day in Baroda, and grants rewards to the Hindu scholars who have passed examinations in the several departments of the Vedas, Tarka Vyakaran, etc., of the Sanskrit language. Other Native courts also observe the same custom. The season for marriages in Hindu households also commences on this day and lasts for six months up to the end of Uttarayana -- the whole of the summer solsitice. The brides for the year get their presents on the 'Sankranti Siru'.They consists generally of new clothes, one or two Ornaments, Vessles, and also Sugar-canes,molasses,oil,ghee, etc.

                         The Sankranti is also the day of the year in which the old earthen utensils of a Hindu household are replaced by new ones. The Pongal -- boiled rice -- itself must be cooked in a new pot.

Mattupongal:
                          The day after the Pongal is called the 'Mattupongal' feast,the feast in honour of the cattle. On this day all the cows, bullocks, buffaloes and the horses in a Hindu household are well washed and decorated. They are also worshipped, and cooked rice is given to them. Cows generally eat cooked rice freely but bullocks and horses will not as a rule. Towards evening festooms of aloe fibre and clothes containing coins are tied to the horns of bullocks and cows nad the animals are driven through the streets with tom - tom and music. This ceremony is not much observed in the populous towns or by the Brahmans. They merely worship the cow during the day time. But in the villages, especially in villages,inhabited by the kalla or robber tribes,the maiden chooses as her husband him who has safely noticed and brought to her clothes tied to the horn of the fiercest bull. The bullocks are let loose with their horns carrying valuables amidst the din of tom - tom and harsh music which terrific and bewilder them. They run madly about and are purposely excited by the crowd. A young kalla will declare that he will run after such and such a bullock - and this is sometimes a risky pursuit - and recover the valuables tied to its horn, and he does so often in a dexterous manner. These tamashas take place on a grand scale in villages round about Madura and Tinnevely where kallas live in large numbers. Accidents are very common but they are not allowed to interface with the festivities. Besides, the kallas considers it a great disgrace to be injured while chasing a bull.