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The four day harvest festival in southern India is known as Pongal (meaning to boil in Tamil). It marks the beginning of auspicious Uttarayan which is the suns northward movement for next six months. Throughout these four days people express their gratitude towards the mother earth and their cattle. The Tamil New Year known as Thai sets in with Pongal. It starts on the 14th or 15th day of January and is mostly popular among the farmers. The festival is celebrated with sacred hymns, merriment and worshipping.

According to the Puranas, Lord Shiva, once instructed his bull Basava to ask people to have an oil massage everyday and eat food only once in a day. Basava imparted a wrong message to the earth that made Shiva angry and he cursed Basava. He said that the bull will remain on the earth and will help people in tilling their lands. Since then the cattle are used for farming purposes and Pongal came into being.