The fourth day of the three-day pongal celebrations is called Kaanum Pongal. In few places this day is also known as Karinaal or Thiruvalluvar Day. It 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. Without the sun, crops cannot sprout and grow. Without the sun, harvests will not be plentiful.
On Kaanum pongal, elaborate powdered chalk designs of the sun god, Surya are drawn. As soon as the auspicious month of Thai is underway, Surya is worshiped. 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.