1st comes Bhogi, the day when old and unwanted things are burnt and thrown out to ring in the new. The highlight of the day is Bholi [rice pancake with lentil or coconut filling made with jaggery]
2nd day is the Main Pongal day, the day when people rejoice a good harvest. Us city dwellers wake up , shower, do a pooja thanking the Lord for all that he has blessed us. Special prasadams are
Sakkarai Pongal made in the traditional paanai with Manjal leaves tied around it [ sweet rice dish cooked in the traditional vessel- either a brass pot or pan with fresh turmeric plant tied around it]
Karumbu [sugar cane]
Payasam [ milk based rice pudding of sorts]
Plain Rice with ghee
3rd day is Kanu pidi and Maatu pongal [for the cows].
On pongal day, before we hit the bed, we were told that the next morning we had to wake up early [before 6am if possible]. These days we do Kanu pidi sometime in the morning. Gramma would draw a line using the fresh turmeric on our foreheads and then we would prep the space for the Kanu pidi.. Women of all ages place offerings for the crows while praying for the well being of their family, husbands and brothers incl.
- In an open space in our backyard, gramma or mom would draw 5 kolams in a line.
- Atop that we would place two Turmeric plant leaves for each person. 2 beetle nut leaves, 5 pieces of Karumbu, 2 of beetle nut is placed on the left side.
- 3 bowls – 1 with sakkarai pongal, 1 with curd rice and finallly one with white rice coloured using the fresh turmeric is kept beside the leaves.
- A small bowl of water is also kept
We make small balls of the different rice and place them in rows on the leaves. And then wash our hands, take some water in our palm, run it around the leaves and drop them on the ground. Say a prayer and complete the process.
Women say “Kakaipidi vachen Kannupidi vachen, Kakka kuutam kalienchalum, enka koottam kalayama irukkenum” [i hereby make an offering for the crows, for the family, even if the crow family splits, mine should not] before winding up and heading for a shower.. The other key aspect is that one has to make sure none but crows eat these, other animals/birds need to be shooed off [cos we believe crows are our ancestors]… 🙂