Hindu padi farmers celebrate Ponggal for bountiful harvest
TANJUNG KARANG: The Ponggal festival which is a thanksgiving celebration for a bountiful harvest by padi farmers is among the important celebrations of the Tamil community throughout the world.
Hindu padi farmers in Malaysia await with excitement to celebrate the festival tomorrow following the harvest.
V.R. Arumugam, 68, who owns a padi farm in Parit Empat in Sekinchan, said the Ponggal festival is a much-awaited celebration by Hindu farmers as it is very special for them.
“We celebrate Ponggal in conjunction with the end of the harvest season, where the harvest is dedicated to Suriya Bhagawan (the Sun God). The festival is also to signify thanksgiving for the harvest,” he said.
He said the festival is celebrated with the cooking of Ponggal rice, which is sweetened rice cooked from the freshly harvested padi.
In conjunction with the celebration, each family will gather around a claypot to look at the milk boiling over, signifying happiness and bountiful harvest for the family.
“Padi from the first harvest will be cooked with milk and brown sugar 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, who is also a padi farmer in Sekinchan, the Ponggal festival is a day for the Hindu community to commemorate the farmers or padi growers who provide rice, a staple food of the Tamil community.
Ponggal is celebrated in the 10th month of the Tamil calendar called Thai Matham in conjunction with the harvest month in India.
It begins with the Bhogi celebration today, one day before Ponggal with a ceremony to burn old things to signify disposing of old bad thoughts.
Ponggal, which is celebrated for three consecutive days, continues with Mattu Ponggal which is celebrated for cows on the second day.
The third day is know as Kanni Ponggal – for unmarried ladies who will pray for a good life partner.
It is also the second festival to be widely celebrated by the Tamil community in the world after Deepavali.