Celebrating “Pongal” Harvest Festival In Sydney Brings Sweet Memories


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A festival during which celebration happens for 4 days. A festival which denotes that the harvest of rice, some types of cereals, sugar-cane and turmeric is around the corner.

A festival where houses are cleaned inside out and painted; cows are festooned with ornaments; Jallikattu (bull fighting) game is played to prove the fitness of men; sweets and mouth-watering food is served through the course of the celebration; where love and happiness prevails.

Guessing what the festival is?

Yes, it is Pongal and is a famous harvest festival celebrated by farmers in South India. It is a four day long festival that is celebrated during the harvest of rice, some types of cereals, sugar-cane and turmeric. This is also similar to the Thanks Giving festival and nurtures thanking the various natural sources that a farmer uses such as cattle, sun, rain, sickle, instruments used for ploughing, etc.,

The four day event also marks the resumption of the sun towards the North.

Day One is celebrated as Bhogi – Traditionally in Tamil they say “Payalana kalidhalum Pudhiyana pugudhalum” which means, all the people discard / cast away the unwanted things and welcome the new. This includes cleanliness both at home and at mental / spiritual level.

Day Two is Sakkarai Pongal which is the main day of Pongal.
Tamil people celebrate the day by wearing new clothes, receiving blessings from the elder members of the family, greeting the near and dear and last but not the least enjoying games like “Jallikattu”. The most important of all is preparing the Pongal dish which is made up of Rice, lentils and jaggery. Pongal is made in a beautifully decorated mud pot and sugarcanes on the side. During the preparation, when the water boils and erupts, all the family members gather to say “Pongalo Pongal” which means “May divine eradicate all the negative forces and the trouble of people; May the gracious God shower good health, wealth and happiness to all”.

Day three is Maatu Pongal day.
Thanks giving to the cattle happen on this day. A cow is a farmers’ best friend in terms of helping the farmer in the ploughing, irrigation and providing milk. Cattle are given a shower on that day, their horns are painted. Cattle will be adorned with flowers, bells hung around their neck, anklets with bells with be tied to their legs and flashy clothes cover them.

The last day is Kaanum Pongal where the Sun is worshipped. The sun plays a major role in making life sustain and providing all the energy for plants to grow well. People also share home-made sweets and savouries to the near and dear and wish them well-being and prosperity on that day.

Feeling nostalgic reading this?

We, Sydney Tamil Manram are bringing to life a fun filled, traditional celebration of the Pongal festival to you on 16th January 2016 at Seven Hills Public School, Lucas Road, Seven Hills.

Join us at the event to enjoy the warmth of celebrating Pongal festival with the family and liven up your souls. There’s fun, frolic, food, games and much more to it. Don’t miss it!

(Owing to the natural calamity that has happened recently in Chennai, this event will be towards fund raising for the affected people. All the funds collected during the course of the event will be spent towards the rehabilitation of the poor and the needy)

Vinodini Govindaraj 

The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia

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