Celebrations occur in all different cultures, all across the world. We all celebrate different significant events in our own special way.
Some of these have a more modern take, some stem from religion and others follow a more traditional take. Whatever the tradition, whatever the celebration, there’s always a deep rooted meaning and the association of joy which make these events, significant, educational and something that gets passed on down generations. This article will shed some light on the significance of a Harvest festival called Pongal.
Pongal derives from an ancient global tradition of worshiping “the sun”. The tradition is seen in cultures all over the world, randing from African to Aztec mythology, as well as throughout many different religions such as Buddhism, Christianity and of course, Hinduism. While the concept of these festivals are generally the same,the traditions on how they celebrate these festivities tend to vary according to each different belief system and culture.
Thai Pongal, or more commonly referred to as Pongal, is the Tamil equivalent of Thanksgiving. The festival is celebrated for four days. Thai Pongal is on 14th January also symbolizes the Tamil New Year , hence the importance placed on this festival by Tamil people all across the globe; similar to Easter and Christmas holding significance in the Christian faith.The main aim of the festival is to convey an appreciation and show respect towards “the sun” for various reasons, such as providing a life source for the agriculture that plays a large role in Tamil Nadu. Pongal also signifies the start of the sun’s six month journey northwards.
The way the festival is celebrated begins with cleaning your home, as well as all members of the family bathing before sunrise on all four days of the festival, as this shows respect towards “the sun”. Members of the Tamil community globally partake by wearing traditional clothing to show cultural appreciation and respect for their traditional roots.
Families paint and decorate their homes with kolams (special drawings) at the entrance and in the prayer rooms to show festivity and happiness through the expression of colours and designs. Giving and receiving gifts as a token of appreciation for those around you is also a big part of the tradition.
The festival runs for four days; Bhogi Pongal being the first day where people worship by using the first paddy harvested rice to create a traditional dish called Pongalm, as named after the festival.
The second day is called Perum Pongal when people wear new clothes and it’s customary to use some oil on your body before taking a bath.
The third day is called Mattu Pongal where animals involved in agriculture such as cattle are worshiped by being bathed and dressed in vibrant colours and festive attire.
The fourth and final day is called Kanum Pongal where people pay a visit to their family and friends, while a prayer is performed by women and some rice is left outside for the birds to feast on.
With Pongal fast approaching and Christmas having just passed, it’s important to remember that even though we all celebrate different traditions and celebrate in different ways, we all celebrate for the same reasons. The epitome of these festivals is always to show respect for one another, bring together family, friends and faith as well as to appreciate the importance of where you come from and what that land and those traditions have to offer.
The Thaai Tamil School will be proudly hosting the annual Pongal festival for 2017. The event will take place on Saturday 21 January, 2017 at the Robelle Domain Park, Springfield Central from 3pm to 9pm.
Here are the further details: Details Here.