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Mattu Pongal 2023

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January 15, 2023, Sunday

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Maatu Pongal, an Introduction

‘Maadu’ means bull or cow and ‘pongal’ signifies prosperity. Maatu Pongal is a special day celebrated to thank and revere the cattle, which play an important role in the lives of the agricultural community. The day is observed with great passion and enthusiasm in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Significance of Maatu Pongal

Maatu Pongal

In India, cows and bulls are regarded very high and are highly special as cows offer the healthy and nourishing milk and bulls help in ploughing the agricultural fields. Hence, this second day of Pongal celebration is entirely dedicated to the cattle. This day is related to the legend of Lord Shiva and his sacred bull, Nandi. On this special day, a renowned bull-taming sport called ‘Manjuvirattu’ or ‘Jallikattu’ is organized in villages, where youngsters tame the fierce bulls to win prizes.

Rituals and Celebrations of Maatu Pongal

  • On Maatu Pongal, people draw colorful images of cow or bull in their front yard.
  • Cows and oxen are given bath and their horns are painted with bright and vibrant colors. They are adorned with flower garlands, tinkling bells and beads around their necks.
  • Masters of the cattle sprinkle turmeric water with mango leaves on the cattle to keep them healthy and ward off any evil forces around them.
  • Lord Krishna and Lord Indra are worshipped for the welfare of their cattle.
  • Special sweet dish called ‘Sakkarai Pongal’ made with raw rice, lentils, jaggery (cane sugar) and dry fruits are offered to the cattle first and then distributed as Prasad to everyone.
  • ‘Manjuvirattu’ or ‘Jallikattu’ is a famous sport for village youngsters on this day, when they tame fierce bulls to win the money tied to their horns. It is usually organized in the evening of Maatu Pongal or on the following day of Kaanum Pongal.
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