TAMIL PADI FARMERS PREPARE FOR PONGGAL
3-day thanksgiving starts tomorrow
INDIANS in Malaysia celebrate the Ponggal harvest thanksgiving festival tomorrow. The festival is among the most important Tamil celebrations.
V. R. Arumugam, 68, who owns a padi farm in Parit Empat, Sekinchan, near here, said Ponggal had a special meaning for Hindu padi farmers.
“We celebrate Ponggal in conjunction with the end of the harvest season, where the harvest is dedicated to Suriya Bhagawan (the Sun God).”
He said the Ponggal celebration involved the cooking of Ponggal rice, which is rice cooked with milk and brown sugar.
Each family will gather around a clay pot to watch the milk boil and overflow, signifying happiness and prosperity.
“Padi from the first harvest will be cooked and a portion of the sweet rice will be offered to Suriya Bhagawan,” said Arumugam, who has been a padi farmer for 45 years.
For P. Ravichandran, 52, a padi farmer in Sekinchan, Ponggal was a day to celebrate the farmers or padi growers who provide rice, a staple food of most people.
“Our house will be decked out for the occasion. We attach sugar cane at the front door so that the sweetness will bless our family.
“Mango leaves adorn the door for the wellbeing of the family, while a colourful clay pot is used to cook Ponggal rice.”
Ponggal is celebrated in the 10th month of the Tamil calendar called “Thai Matham” in conjunction with the harvest month in India.
It is celebrated over three days. The festival begins with a Bhogi celebration today, with a ceremony to burn old things to signify disposing of old bad thoughts.
The second day, known as Mattu Ponggal, is a day when cows are blessed.
The third day is known as Kanni Ponggal, when single women pray for a good life partner.
Worker K. Shashi inspecting clay pots at a shop in Lebuh King, Penang, on Friday.