Kaanum Pongal, which falls on the same day as Maatu
Pongal, is celebrated by sisters for the welfare of
their brothers. All the women, young and old, of the
house, assemble in the courtyard. The rice is placed in
the center of the leaf, while the women ask that the
house and family of their brothers should prosper. Arati
is performed for the brothers with turmeric water,
limestone and rice, and this water is sprinkled on the
kolam in front of the house.
In few places this day is also known as Karinaal or
Thiruvalluvar Day. This day is dedicated to the sun god,
Surya and has its roots in ancient Brahminical
tradition. Since Pongal is a rural, agrarian based
festival that celebrates the harvests, the sun is a
vital part of the proceedings. This is because the Sun
is the symbol of life on Earth.
Kaanum Pongal is marked by, elaborate powdered chalk
designs of the sun god, Surya. Sheaves of sugarcane dot
the prayer area. Freshly cooked food including the
typical sweet dish 'Sarkarai pongal' is first offered to
Surya. Sugarcane that is offered is symbolic for
sweetness and happiness in life. Sugarcane stalks and
coconut- both auspicious symbols of plenty- are also
offered to the Gods in propitiation of a plentiful
harvest in the forthcoming year.
On this day, people travel to see other family members
and the younger members of the family pay homage to the
elders, and the elders thank them by giving token money.
Many leave food out on banana leaves for birds to take.
Some also go to temple to worship and thank God for all
good things that are bestowed on them.