It is a well-known fact that Pongal is a three-day festival and Mattu Pongal is celebrated on the third day. It is dedicated to cattle, hence the name. Prayers are offered to the bulls, cows and other farm animals. The cattle and other farm provide milk and help in various farming activities, which is why they are given due respect during the harvest festival. Also, during this day, cattle and other farm animals are allowed to take rest. They are also decorated with colours and bells.
History of Mattu Pongal
On the day of Mattu Pongal, Lord Ganesh and Goddess Parvati are worshiped and Pongal is offered to them during the ‘puja’. Legends reveal that once Lord Shiva asked his bull-vehicle, Nandi, to go to the earth and ask the mortals to have an oil massage and bath every day and to eat once a month. But, out of some confusion, Nandi announced that everyone on earth should eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. This made Lord Shiva furious and he cursed Nandi by banishing him to live on earth forever. He was ordered to perform the task of ploughing the fields and helping people produce more food. This lead to the origination of Mattu Pongal.
During Maatu Pongal, the cattle are given bath; their horns are painted and decorated with multi-colored beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn, and flower garlands are tied around their necks. They are also offered with Prasadham and people take Aarthi of the cattle. They are taken around the town or village.
Mattu Pongal Celebrations
On this festival, the very famous Jallikattu is held in the southern parts of Tamilnadu like Madurai, Trichy, and Tanjore. The bulls are chased and tamed by the men who participate in the competition. Food made out of freshly harvested crops is consumed in the community meal.