Pongal is celebrated to thank the Sun God and the farm animals that help the agriculturists in harvesting. Pongal is traditionally cooked in a new mud pot, which used to be an important part of the rituals. It is commonly known as "Ponga Paanai".
These days we cook even the traditional festival pongal in a bronze or steel pot and pressure cooker. Especially in a city like Chennai, people are rarely using the mud pots to prepare Pongal, even though the market and streets are flooded with "Pongapaanais".
Palaniswmai, a pot seller in the city tells DC, "People are not using mud pots for making Pongal anymore. Instead, they use bronze and pressure cooker, so our business is very dull now". He adds, "It is the elders who come to buy earthen pots in order to safeguard the tradition". Pongal is the only festival when there's a high demand for the "Pongapaanais" potters like him make.
As the harvest festival, there is always a big celebration around Pongal and one should not forget the traditional values and things which are used during the festival, especially since they also help the local economy flourish.