Source: Shri Rajarathna Bhattar
HOUSTON, TEXAS, January 13, 2001: The festival called variously as Pongal, Makara Sankranthi and Utharayana Punya Kala occurs on January 14 or 15. From the sun's entering Makara rasi, it is called Makara Sankranthi; from the sun's moving northwards, it is named Utharayana; and as the sun is worshipped with sweet rice pongal, it is called Pongal, a day for the worship of Surya (sun). Since agriculture, sun and rain are indispensible, one day is set aside during harvest for the worship of Devendra and celebrated as Bhogi, for according to the shastras, no rain will fall without Indra's command. The next day, thanks are offered to Surya with Pongal made of freshly harvested grain. The third day is Mattu Pongal, when cattle are worshipped with Pongal. On the fourth day called Kanu Pongal, unmarried girls and married women take the blessing of elders and pray for the welfare of the family. Unmarried girls pray to the Almighty in the expectation that in consonance with the Tamil adage, the next month Thai, would see them married.