Pongal is a vibrant and colourful Hindu “thanksgiving” festival traditionally dedicated to the Sun God Surya to thank the solar deity for a bountiful harvest.
During Pongal, houses are cleaned, painted and decorated and Kolam’s (ground patterns made out of rice flour) are made in the front yards of the houses
The word Pongal literally means “boiling over” which refers to the ritual of boiling freshly harvested rice and milk until it spills out of the pot. The “boiling over” is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the household.
The moment the rice boils over and bubbles out of the pot, it is customary for the devotees to shout “Ponggalo Pongal!”. Once the Pongal is ready , cashew nuts and raisins fried in ghee will be added in.
In the temples, the rice dish is also prepared while devotees chant prayers. Food such as vegetables, sugar cane and spices are first offered to the gods and later consumed by devotees to cleans themselves of past sins.
The festival takes place every year from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the fourth day of Thai. The celebration usually takes place for four days. The first is the Bogi Festival, followed by the main celebration day or “Surya Pongal”
The third day of the Pongal Festival is known as Mattu Pongal or the Pongal of the cow – a day dedicated to the revered cow.
The fourth day of Pongal which is also called Kanum Pongal also holds special importance. This is the day when the bond between friends and relatives are re-strengthened by visiting their homes and sharing thoughts of love and care.
Date – 13-16 January 2013
Time – 9 am – 5 pm
Where – George town Penang