Chennai, Jan.14 (ANI): People in Tamil Nadu state celebrated Pongal, the festival of harvest, with traditional fervour and gaiety on Thursday.
Apart from hailing the harvest, people in Tamil Nadu and other parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka thanked the Mother Nature for the bounty on the occasion of Pongal.
On many places, local people celebrated Pongal along with the foreign tourists with joy and deep fervour.
In Chennai, tourists from Australia, France and Britain participated in the traditional festivities and enjoyed being with the local people on this special occasion. They loved watching colourful and fascinating designs of Rangolis, dance and also cooked delicacies in traditional pots.
"The programme is very excellent and very well done and put together quite well for the people. (Q: How did you like Pongal?) The Pongal was very beautiful, very enjoyable and very good to see," said Justin, an Australian tourist.
On this festive occasion, as a part of the ritual, farmers worship bullocks and cows which enable them to reap it rich in the agricultural fields.
Farmers in Coimbatore celebrated Pongal by honouring their cows.
Pongal in the south India coincides with Makar Sankrati marking the northward journey of the sun as it enters a new zodiac.
Mattu Pongal is a day when cattle are given a well-deserved day of rest and a pride of place.
The cattle are washed; their horns are painted and covered with shining metal caps. Multi-coloured beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn and flower garlands are tied around their necks. Women apply turmeric and vermilion paste on the animals and garland them.
"The cows work hard for us for the whole year and today it's their day so these cows are given special bath and cleaned and decorated with colours and will be fed with sweet Pongal. They will be given complete rest for one day, no work will be given for today," said Kannan, a farmer.
Pongal, the first Indian festival in the English calendar year, is also celebrated as Lohri in northern Punjab and Bihu in the north east Assam. (ANI)