Pongal is Tamilnadu's most important festival. Pongal marks the harvest season. Pongal is generally celebrated in the second week of January. As part of the Pongal festival, the house is cleaned, and all maintenance jobs are done before this festival. This festival is celebrated by decorating the front of the house with Rangoli and cooking Sweet Pongal a dish made of Rice and Jaggery.
Since the cattle contribute to agriculture, they are decorated and worshiped. Jallikattu is an exciting and many times dangerous sport that is played on Pongal. It is similar to the Spanish Bull fights, but rather than a one to one fight, it is mostly about who among a large group of young men, is able to tame the raging bull let loose towards the waiting crowd.
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On the first day is Bhogi. People discard old things and focus on buying new items for their households. People light up a bonfire at dawn and burn all these discarded items. They then clean up and paint their homes giving it a very festive look.
Pongal is celebrated on the first day of Tamil Month 'Thai'. It is celebrated by boiling rice with jaggery and milk. The people of the household wear new clothes and the atmosphere is very euphoric. Then after the milk boils over which the people consider a good sign, they make an offering to the Sun God.
Mattu Pongal is celebrated to honor the cattle which is a very important part of the rural and farming household. The cattle are bathed and kumkum is applied to their foreheads. They are given good food to eat. On the day of Mattu Pongal there is also the Jelli Kattu festival where thousandths of people take part in a contest to showcase their bravery where they will try and tame bulls.
On the following day friends and relatives would go and meet one another and spend some quality time with one another. It is also a day when the families of a household all get together and visit fairs, trade parks, beaches and other locales.