Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ponggal Festival - Thanksgiving, Indian style

Extracted from NST and The Star Jan 13, 2009

OUM Perak wishes all its Hindu Tutors and Learners a blessed Ponggal festival.

The Ponggal festival is a time when Indians offer thanks for the many riches that the universe provides... and it’s also an auspicious time to find a life partner!

THE auspicious period for 2009 begins on Wednesday (Jan 14). To mark it, Hindus will celebrate the thanksgiving festival of Ponggal.

The event signifies the start of a period considered to be good for marriages, moving house, buying new vehicles or property, sealing business deals and travelling.

An integral part of the Ponggal celebration is boiling milk and watching it flow over. Photos by The Star

Ponggal is a festival for Tamils to mark the beginning of the calendar month of Thai.

Traditionally, Ponggal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamil farmers in India over three days, usually between Jan 13 and Jan 16 every year.

Traditionally celebrated during harvest time, Ponggal is a celebration of prosperity by thanking the rain, sun and the farm animals that have helped in the harvest.

A 2008 file photo showing two youngsters from Penang decorating their cow and applying painted handprints on it during Mattu Ponggal. – Photos by The Star

Ponggal, believed to be at least 1,000 years old, is celebrated mainly in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and by Tamils worldwide.

Ponggal is prepared in a new pot early in the morning by boiling rice with fresh milk and brown sugar which is later topped with ghee, cashew nuts and raisins.

It is believed that if you see the milk boiling over, it means good luck and prosperity is forthcoming.

Children preparing the kolam

The second day of Ponggal is called the Mattu Ponggal.

On this day, the cows horns are painted and they are bathed and garlanded. They are allowed to roam free and fed ponggal and sugar cane.

The third day is called Kaanum Ponggal when people visit their relatives and friends, and young girls usually cook ponggal in temples in the hope of finding a suitable husband.

Further details: http://www.pongalfestival.org/

No comments: