Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Yesterday was Pongal, the harvest festival, marking the start of a new season of plenty, after the drab - in agricultural terms - month of margazhi. The winter cold is on its way out, now and the days begin to get longer. On Pongal day, the tradition is to worship the Sun God; it is the first day of uttarayanam, when the sun moves to a new constellation.
Given the mismatch between the definition of a 24-hour day and the actual movement of the stars and the planets, the actual start of Pongal would shift every year. I know many people who did not celebrate Pongal at sunrise this year. They waited for the moment of the constellation shift (yes, they know.) to start their pujas and gaiety.
The sun, of course, rose around the time it usually does and lit up the waters of the Bay of Bengal, as well as the sands of the Marina!