The Tamil month of Thai starts with Utharayanam. It falls between January 14th – February 15th 2014. Makara sankranthi heralds the start of this month. It is an auspicious month for weddings. Thai pirrandhal vazhi pirrakum goes the saying which means with Thai ushering in, marriages will be fixed. Sankranthi is better known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Pongal is a festival which gets its name because the important thing to do that day is to prepare sarkarai pongal and offer it to Perumal. It is a Thanksgiving festival. Newly harvested paddy, sugarcane and turmeric is offered to the Father and mother of The Universe that is to Lakshmi Narayanan. The first day of the festival is Bhoghi which is on January 13th 2014. This day is celebrated as Andal Tirukalyanam. After observing Pavai Nonbu the whole of Margazhi the goal is reached by Andal and her friends who have atmavivaham with Sriman Narayana. The offerings that day are: Rice, thuvaram paruppu, morkuzhambu, two karamadhus, puli kootu, Tirukkanamadhu, vadai, poli and curds. On Thai Pongal the pongal panai (bellmetal vengalai panai) is washed thoroughly and Tiruman, Srichurnam is made on all four sides. sugarcane piece, raw turmeric, banana, vethilai-paku to be tied round the neck.Take half a cup or more of raw milk and when it begins to boil Pongolo Pongal is said to the ringing of bell. When the milk boils wateris added. Wash the rice thoroughly two or three times and add to the pot. Dry roast payathum paruppu (moong-dal) and add to the pot. When the rice is cooked thoroughly add jaggery, then ghee and season with raisins and cashewnuts fried in ghee. Add powdered cardamon, pachaikarpuram, saffron etc. Before offering to Perumal add a ladle of ghee and Tulasi. Usually many varieties of vegetables are prepared on that day. Avial is made as also plantain karamadhu, payasam and vadai. On Kannu pongal day it is customary for women to get raw turmeric applied on their foreheads by elders who say Pen Vazha Pirandhagam vazha! meaning let the girl live happily let her home of birth be prosperous. Turmeric rice, turmeric and lime rice, sarkarai pongal prepared on Pongal day and curd rice are made into balls and placed on turmeric leaves and left in open spaces for birds. It is the day when the crows and sparrows marry. Cows are worshipped by applying turmeric and kumkum at their rear, doing pradakshinam and offering sarkarai pongal, bananas and money is given to the cowherd. This festival is done praying for the welfare of one’s brothers and it is customary for brothers to give money . This need not be a big amount what matters is that it is auspicious and confers mangalam. On that day a variety of chitrannams are prepared along with a mixed vegetable side dish, chips are made or appalams and vadams are fried. Let Pongal usher in sarvamangalams for always.
Thai vellikizhamai that is Thai Fridays are auspicious. Oil baths are taken and manja pongal is offered along with a sweet. Vethilai-paku is given to sumangalis. Usually there is dolai utsavam for Mahalakshmi at most temples .In Srirangam we will have Thai Ther festival also known as Bhupathi Tirunal which will start on 3.2.2014 this year.