Pongal is a four-day-long harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, which falls in the month of Thai (that is, the January-February season) when crops like rice, sugarcane, turmeric etc. are harvested.
The term ‘pongal’ in Tamil means “to boil”, and this festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving ceremony for the year’s harvest. Pongal also happens to be the name of a dish consumed during this festive time, which is sweetened rice boiled with lentils.
More than just a harvest festival-
Apart from the four day long celebrations, this festival of harvest has various herbal and health benefits. Celebrating Pongal in its authentic traditional manner makes us healthy. Here’s how –
Indian Dates – Dates, rich in anti-oxidants and flavonoids are considered as good blood purifiers. The fleshly fruits help clean the digestive system. It also benefits the teeth by getting you out of mouth ulcers and dental issues.
Sugarcane – Sugarcanes are rich in calcium and glucose. Consuming sugarcane increases the hunger and gives instant energy. Also, pregnant women that suffer from vomiting can consume it with ginger to get better. Sugarcane juice is considered good to cleanse our body.
Pumpkin – Pumpkin gives a lot of energy to the body and consuming it with lemon juice and honey, helps improve nerve weakness.
Til (Nuvvulu – Sesame) – The til laddu that is prepared with sesame seeds and jaggery gives our body calcium, folic acid, iron and more. It also helps regulate menstrual cycle in younger women.
Gobbemmalu (Dung Balls) – Gobbemmalu, generally prepared with cow dung and turmeric and decorated in front of houses during this festival is rich in anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Mango leaves, Banthi poolu (Marigold flowers) – The garlands prepared with these flowers aren’t just for the sake of decoration. These garlands also work as anti bacterial agents and repellants.
Bhogi Mantalu – The sacred bonfire from the combustion of old materials at home, datura stems and other herbal sticks helps reduce effects of Asthma. Not just that, it clears the waste and also makes the fields free from harmful worms and insects.
Every ritual celebrated in these four days, if done in its original way, reaps good health benefits and more.
So, now that all that has been said, we would like to wish you all a very Happy Pongal!