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The festivities last for four days always beginning on the 13th or 14th of January) toward the end of Tamil month of Margazhi), followed by Pongal. It also marks the beginning of Tamil month 'Thai', an auspicious one. Bhogi, the main Pongal day and Mattu pongal get due importance. Bhogi is dedicated to rain god Indira. On Pongal day, we invoke Sun God. Cows and bulls are worshiped on the Mattu pongal day by the family members and they are well cleaned, decorated and their horns well-painted. Bulls are farm animals much used in agricultural lands. With the advent of machines in the last two decades, bulls are not widely used as in the past for ploughing, etc.
Jallikattu is a popular sport associated with pongal festival in which bulls are tamed by a large group of men and it is famous in southern Tamil Nadu. Normally, they are held in selected places during later period, not during pongal holidays. A controversial sport, the events are conducted with several restrictions. The reason being participants are not physically well-protected, In many villages women make pongal en mass in a public place near the temple. After puja/ prayer to Sun God and other deities in the morning, people will taste the dish.
The last and fourth one is called Kanya Pongal (Kanum Pongal). A variety of cooked rice (in small balls), etc will be placed on the plantain leaf and left in the open terrace and they are meant for birds -crow, etc. Further, it is done by young girls for the welfare and longevity of their brothers and other family members.
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