Monday, January 02, 2012

The Festival call Pongal

I just feel want to write something about celebration.Yes! new year celebration are over and we had enter the first month of January 2012 and when we mention January, there will be a lot of celebrations that fall in this month and especially to the Hindu community.There is one celebration that every Hindu would like to look forward and eagerly waiting.This happened only in every middle of month in January.The "Ponggal" festival with 4 days of celebration and become one of the festival that celebrated on grand scale in Malaysia and India.In Malaysia they may not celebrated as grand as in India but the mood of this festival really enlighten Indian community here and now other races are also joining hands to celebrated them together.

This year 2012 the ponggal festival will be on 15th January and 14th January up to 17th January.The four days of Pongal have there own individual significance.Pongal continues through the first four days of Thai month that starts in the mid-January.The word Pongal literally means "boiling over" and is celebrated by Hindus to mark the harvesting of the bounteous crops in the fields. 

The houses are cleaned, painted and decorated and Kolam's (ground patterns made out of rice flour) are made in the front yards of the houses.The day begins with the making of Kolams at the entrance of homes, as early as possible, in the morning. It is auspicious to draw the Kolams before sunrise so that the sun god can see them and come to bless the particular household. 

                                     Kolam in progress

Every household, prides itself on making the most exquisite floor drawings outside their homes. These patterns drawn with rice flour, dyed in brilliant hues It is an art handed down from one generation to the other.Kolams (ground patterns made out of rice flour) generally drawn with rice flour are special to the occasion.The idea behind using rice flour is that the insects would feed on it and bless the household.

Sweet rice, known as Pongal, is cooked in a new earthenware pot at the same place where puja is to be performed.Fresh turmeric and ginger are tied around this pot. Then a delicious concoction of rice, moong dal, jaggery and milk is boiled in the pot on an open fire.

                                   Pongal celebrated by all
                                      Milk boiling and spilling

This Pongal, according to ritual, is allowed to boil over and spill out of the pot. Once the Pongal is ready it is tempered with cashew nuts and raisins fried in ghee. Pongal, once ready, is offered to God first, on a new banana leaf along with other traditional delicacies like vadas, payasam, etc. Besides this, sugarcane, grain, sweet potatoes etc. are also offered to the Sun God.

The following day is known as "Mattu Pongal" or the Pongal of the cow - a day dedicated to the revered cow.The fourth day of Pongal also holds special importance.This is the day when the bond between friends and relatives are re-strengthened by visiting their homes and sharing thoughts of love and care.
Legends Related to Pongal
Like many other Indian festivals, Pongal also has a few interesting legends attached to it signifying the importance it holds. The most popular legend is the one connected to the first day of the Pongal celebration when the Rain God, Bhogi or Indra is worshipped. According to the legend, on this day Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger to shelter his people and save them from being washed away by the rains and floods.

Another legend is associated with the third day of Pongal celebration, also known as Mattu Pongal. According to it, Lord Shiva once asked Nandi, his bull, to go to earth and deliver his message to the people - to have an oil bath every day, and food once a month. But Nandi got it all mixed up when he delivered the message, and told the people that Shiva asked them to have an oil bath once a month, and eat every day. Shiva was displeased, and told Nandi that since the people would now need to grow more grain, Nandi would have to remain on earth and help them plough the fields.

It is actually a celebration of thanksgiving to the nature and also celebrated as Makara Sankranti in other part of South India.A tradition that came a long way and still been celebrated by many Hindus today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ponggaloo! Pongall!!

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