TAMIL PADI FARM­ERS PRE­PARE FOR PONG­GAL

3-day thanks­giv­ing starts to­mor­row

New Straits Times - - NEWS -

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.

PIC BY MIKAIL ONG

Worker K. Shashi in­spect­ing clay pots at a shop in Le­buh King, Pe­nang, on Fri­day.

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