Hindu padi farm­ers cel­e­brate Pong­gal for boun­ti­ful har­vest

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

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.

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