Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ponggal - My Ponggal

Ponggal is a South Indian celebration predominantly celebrated by people of Tamil origin. Officially called Thai Ponggal, it is a harvest festival to thank the sun god for the crops that they have harvested. Ponggal on its own could also mean the sweet rice that is cooked on the celebration. Ponggal is usually celebrated over a course of three days and are divided into Maatu Ponggal (Cow Ponggal), Thai Ponggal (main celebration, Thai refers to the Tamil Month of Thai) and finally Kanni Ponggal or Kaanum Ponggal (More of a day of thanksgiving)

Ponggal for some of the Tamils is a day that is more important than Deepavali. Ponggal is held closer to the hearts of Tamils because it is more of local customs. Of course in Malaysia this is usually not the case and maybe it could be due to the fact that we are not attached to our roots as how it is in India. I must admit that Ponggal used to go like “whoosh” for me because it was not very significant. This year however, it was an exception because I actually celebrated it properly.

Ponggal is generally celebrated by boiling rice, milk, brown sugar with a variety of condiments. Once the rice and milk come to a boil, we chant “ponggalo, Ponggal” as a belief that health, wealth and prosperity should overflow as how the milk does when it comes to a boil. Usually, the sweet rice (what it is called when the milk and rice has boiled) is cooked in a clay pot but these days it is done in ever silver pots or aluminum pots due to convenience. In my case, it was ever silver (not so cool, but at least I did it)

After preparing the sweet rice and other dishes, we went to the temple and for the first time I wore a Veshthi (dhothi) of which I am proud of. I decided to wear one because since it is a Tamil celebration, I decided to stick to my roots, lol.

All in all it was a nice and quiet celebration which I enjoyed; the pictures you see below are some of those that I took during the day. Some of the pictures have nothing to do with Ponggal but I just liked the shots. Hope you enjoy too.

 The "Kolam" by my wife. Art Level: Asian

The sugarcane deco in front of the house. A friend of mine was telling me how his dad asked him why do you tie the sugarcane at the entrance of the house? My friend did not know the answer and asked his dad for the answer; to which he answered that if the sugarcane is not tied, it would fall... well done friend's dad!

Random Shot!

Random Shot, again!

Random Shot, yet again! okay, I am done with the random shots.

 The pot that we used to boil the milk and rice. what's tied to the pot is Cucumin (tumeric). I am not too sure what the significance is but wikipedia states that it is an offering as well. I don't really want to quote wikipedia but this the closest I can find.

No comments: