Thai Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival. Thai Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Tamil people in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry, Sri Lanka, as well as Tamils worldwide. The festival is celebrated on January 14 th every year and is also one of the longest celebrations in the Tamil calendar, spread over four days.Thai Pongal corresponds to Makara Sankranthi, the winter harvest festival celebrated throughout India.
The best of South Indian dishes are relished during the harvest festival of Pongal making the occasion a gourmet’s delight. Pongal is also celebrated as a thanksgiving festival for various Hindu deities. The festivities begin with `Bhogi’ and the first day is considered to be a prelude to the celebrations that follow. `Bhogi’ is observed as a thanksgiving occasion to Lord `Indra’, the God of Heavens. The next day is the `Pongal’ day, which is celebrated to pay respects to `Surya’, the Sun God. It is the day of a new beginning and makes people go for joyful celebrations. As a mark of respect to the cattle, the farmer’s best friends, the third day of Pongal festival is celebrated as `Maattu Pongal’. `Kaanum Pongal’ marks the end of the four-day celebrations.
Pongal also signifies a dish that is sweet and known as Sakkarai Pongal or Chakkara Pongal made with rice and lentil. Besides rice and milk the ingredients of this sweet dish include cardamom, jaggery, raisins, Green gram (split), and cashew nuts. Cooking is done in sunlight, usually in a porch or courtyard, as the dish is dedicated to the Sun God. The cooking is done in a clay pot that is decorated with colored patterns called kolam. Pongal has two variants, one sweet and one savory. Cooking pongal is a traditional practice at Hindu temples during any part of the Temple Festival in Tamil Nadu. Source : Wikipedia
This is my very first attempt of making sweet Pongal, and trust me it was the most divine experience by far. The house literally smells jeaven while making this. I have a strong sweet tooth hence when i decided to make Pongal today, it was just Sakkarai Pongal in my head. I researched a lot over net for the correct recipe, and everywhere the recipe had some minor difference, but the basic method was the same for both sweet and savory pongal. Hence i took the measurements as per my requirement and made this amazingly delicious Sakkarai Pongal aka Chakkara Pongal.