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Jallikattu held in TN as part Pongal celebrations

 
Chennai, Jan 14 (IANS) Tamil Nadu's traditional bull taming sport Jallikattu is being held in Avaniapuram, Madurai district, on Friday on the occasion of Pongal.

Over 500 bulls and 300 bull tamers are registered for the game that began in the morning.

A person is announced as winner if he hangs on to the bulls' hump for a specified time.

The bull owners are also given prizes if their animal was not tamed by anyone.

Meanwhile Tamil Nadu celebrated harvest Pongal festival thanking rain/sun Gods and farm animals fervour on the first day of the Tamil month Thai.

Across the state people got up early, put on new clothes and offered special prayers.

At homes at the auspicious time children beating a small drum shouted `Pongolo Pongal', `Pongolo Pongal' when the milk started boiling over the pot as a part of preparing 'Chakarai Pongal' the special dish of the festival.

In some homes conches are blown prior to the formal offering.

When the milk boils over, other ingredients - rice, jaggery, Bengal gram-are added to the milk and finally ghee fried cashews, almonds and cardamom are also added.

The mud pot or stainless steel in which the dish is cooked is decorated by tying up ginger, turmeric, sugarcane piece and banana at the neck.

The Pongal dish is offered to the sun god as thanksgiving and eaten as 'prasad'. People exchanged greetings and Chakarai Pongal with their neighbours.

The Pongal festivities take place over four days, the first day being Bhogi, which was on Thursday, when people burn their old clothes, mats and other items. Homes are painted afresh.

The second day is the main Pongal festival celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month Thai.

The third day is the Mattu Pongal when bulls and cows are bathed and their horns painted and worshipped as they play an important role in farms.

Women feed the birds with coloured rice and pray for the welfare of their brothers.

In some parts of the state, jallikattu will be held.

The fourth day is the Kannum Pongal - the day to go out and meet relatives and friends, and go site seeing.

--IANS
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