Thai Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival. Pongal is a four-day festival which according to the Gregorian calendar is normally celebrated from January 14 to January 16.
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, and the country of Sri Lanka, as well as Tamils worldwide. Thai Pongal corresponds to Makara Sankranthi, the winter harvest festival celebrated throughout India.
The day marks the start of the sun’s six-month-long journey northwards (the Uttaraayanam). This also corresponds to the Indic solstice when the sun purportedly enters the 10th house of the Indian zodiac Makara or Capricorn. Thai Pongal is mainly celebrated to convey appreciation to the Sun God for a successful harvest. Part of the celebration is the boiling of the first rice of the season consecrated to the Sun – the Surya Maangalyam.
We had a few friends over for dinner. ‘Spicy Curry’ was requested so we had spicy shrimp curry, and not so spicy chicken tikka masala, green beans, cucumber raita, and a rice pudding called payasam. (We also had beef and broccoli, an Austrian peach cake, chocolate chip cookies, and vanilla ice cream…none of which were Indian inspired…but all very yummy!)
Finding the beef was a bit of a challenge. We were trying to get a beef tenderloin. We were told that the local grocery store occasionally has them. We asked on Saturday, and were told to come back on Monday morning. Ramesh went on Monday, and they told him to come back Monday afternoon. He went back Monday afternoon, and they gave him a beef round roast.
He went back on Tuesday to explain that he wanted a tenderloin, and not a roast. They told him that it was a tenderloin.
I called a friend who has experience with these things. She got the tenderloin on Friday, and Ramesh picked it up from her. We have a bit more in the freezer, and it is being treated like gold. Sheesh!